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23 November 2017

Canongate acquires Severn House Publishers and Kate Gibb is promoted

13 September 2017

The Canongate Board is pleased to announce that Canongate has bought Severn House Publishers for an undisclosed sum from Edwin Buckhalter and his family.

Buckhalter founded the independent house in 1974 and has grown the specialist fiction publisher that focuses on the US library market into a highly profitable and respected list.  Buckhalter and Mandy Shaw will remain in consultancy roles but step down as Chairman and Company Secretary.  The rest of the Severn House staff, including Kate Lyall Grant as Publisher, will continue in their current roles and move into Canongate's west London offices.

In a connected development Kate Gibb (pictured below), until recently Canongate's Finance and Operations Director, has been promoted to C.O.O. of Canongate and in this expanded role will also sit on the Severn House Board of Directors alongside Jamie Byng, Canongate's C.E.O., and David Young, Canongate's Chair.

Kate Gibb and Severn and Canongate logos

The deal was in part financed by Handelsbanken, who have taken over from the Royal Bank of Scotland as Canongate's bankers.

Jamie Byng, CEO, Canongate said "Severn House is a very impressive publishing operation and I have great admiration for Edwin and the manner in which he has grown his company into such a successful and interesting business with an excellent team of staff and a terrific list of authors. When we were presented with this opportunity to buy Severn House, it became clear very quickly that the two companies were extremely complementary and I am delighted, as are the Canongate Board and shareholders, that we have concluded this deal.  I'm also very pleased that Kate Gibb is moving into the position of C.O.O. Kate played a critical role in the acquisition of Severn House and her contribution to Canongate continues to grow in so many important ways."

Edwin Buckhalter, Chairman, Severn House said "It is no secret that I am long past retirement age, and recently we have been approached by several companies on both sides of the Atlantic. But when we were introduced to Canongate, it was immediately obvious that this was a perfect fit for two apparently disparate lists. I have always been impressed by Canongate's creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and fierce independence, and I am confident that their youthful outlook and energy will add new dimensions and potential for our authors. With Canongate's expertise, Severn House and its imprint Crème de la Crime will continue to flourish, retaining name and personality. I can't think of a better future or safer hands for the company I started more than forty years ago."

For further information please contact Jenny Fry, Communications Director, jenny.fry@canongate.co.uk