The Hachette Book Group and major Japanese publisher Kadokawa Corporation have partnered to create a new venture, joining HBG’s Yen Press imprint, a leader in the US publication of Japanese manga and light novels, with Kadokawa.
Kadokawa will hold majority ownership, with 51% of the business to be acquired through its US investment company and HBG controlling 49% of the business.
The transaction is expected to be completed by end of April, at which point Yen Press will function as Yen Press LLC, a joint venture between HBG and Kadokawa.
Yen Press is one of the largest English language manga imprints in North America, specializing in manga and light novels, publishing a broad range of titles including English translations of Japan originated titles, manga adaptations of novels by bestselling Hachette authors like James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer, and original manga developed at Yen Press.
The joint venture will continue to leverage HBG’s strengths in manga publishing, distribution, sales, and marketing. Moreover, the partnership will enable Yen Press and Kadokawa to maximize marketing collaboration between book publishing and anime distribution (through Kadokawa’s expertise in the anime marketplace), while also seeking to expand ebook distribution, to maximize the growth potential of Japanese content in the North American market.
“This new partnership with Kadokawa is an exciting opportunity for HBG,” says Michael Pietsch, CEO of HBG. “The venture will further strengthen our Yen Press brand, and allow us to leverage Kadokawa’s superb reputation in both manga and light novel genres, as well as their digital distribution and anime platforms.
“Combining Kadokawa’s expertise in these categories, and HBG’s excellent sales, distribution and publishing support services, Yen Press will be well positioned to continue its remarkable growth. And this important new partnership is in extremely able hands, with Kurt Hassler as Publisher – no one is more perfectly suited to lead this new venture than Kurt, who has built the publishing program to where it is today.“
“The North American publishing market continues to remain strong, and Japanese manga titles are enjoying an upward sales trend,” commented Masaki Matsubara, Representative Director and President of Kadokawa. “Visitors at anime and pop culture events held in North America continue to rise year by year, demonstrating the increased popularity of Japanese content in the market.
“Kadokawa considers the North American market as the most important international market for the company alongside the Greater China market and Southeast Asia where we have existing business presence, and are therefore profoundly pleased to have the opportunity to begin a joint venture partnership with a company of HBG’s stature, being a leading publisher in North America. Yen Press has an outstanding editorial team with in-depth knowledge of Japanese content, led by Mr. Kurt Hassler who has been running the Japanese manga publishing operation for many years. I am thus confident of Yen Press’s ability to realize sustainable growth, through its continued introduction of Japanese manga, light novels and many other attractive titles not limited to KADOKAWA titles, to the English speaking market centered on North America.”
Kurt Hassler, scheduled to be appointed as Managing Director and Publisher of the joint venture, says, “Yen has partnered with Kadokawa since its inception, and we have always been so grateful for the wonderful titles they have entrusted to us. That may be why it feels so natural to be taking this bold next step together. I can’t think of another instance in the manga field in this market where leading publishers from Japan and the US have pooled their resources in a true joint venture of this nature, and with the demand for manga and light novels already exploding, the possibilities seem endless.”
The Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre (a Lagardère company), the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG publishes under the divisions of Little, Brown and Company, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, Perseus Books, Hachette Books, Hachette Nashville, and Hachette Audio.
The Kadokawa Corporation is a leading diversified mega-content publisher in Japan with a wide range of businesses including publishing of books, e-books and magazines, production and distribution of anime and motion pictures, game development and sales, merchandising and digital media among others, centered on a media-mix strategy leveraging on its rich content IP portfolio.
Kadokawa is the subsidiary of the Kadokawa Dwango Corporation, which was formed in October 2014, intended to establish the world’s leading platform for digital entertainment content.