Penguin Random House buys Boom! Studios

Penguin Random House is the new owner of US comic book and graphic novel publisher Boom! Studios.

The agreement, between the Random House Publishing Group and Boom! founder and chairman Ross Richie, is expected to close later this summer, at which point Boom! will become part of Random House Worlds

It’s the latest in a string of deals made by PRH, after its purchase of Simon & Schuster was blocked by the US Department of Justice.

Boom! was founded by Richie in 2005 and comprises Boom! Studios, Boom! Box, KaBoom!, and Archaia, which it purchased in 2013. Under Ross Richie, Boom! has developed an ambitious licensing program, signing publishing deals with such brands as The Dark Crystal, Dune, The Expanse, while creating its own original bestselling series, including Keanu Reeves’s BRZRKR series and Lumberjanes.

Boom! sold a stake in the company to 20th Century Fox in 2017, which was assumed by the Walt Disney Company following its acquisition of Fox. The PRH purchase includes the acquisition of the Disney stake.

Random House says Boom! will remained based in its Los Angeles offices and retain editorial and publishing independence, the deal reflecting RHPG’s renewed emphasis of making “strategic acquisitions”.

Once the deal is completed, Richie will leave Boom! and the Los Angeles office will be overseen by Boom! director of strategy Jen Harned, who will report to Random House Worlds president Scott Shannon.

Random House Worlds is currently home to storied science fiction and fantasy imprint Del Rey, new comics imprint Inklore, and the RH Worlds licensing program.

Shannon describes the acquisition of BOOM! Studios as “a major step in Penguin Random House’s expansion of support to the direct comics market and a key part of our commitment to being the best publisher for creators across all categories.”

Publisher’s Weekly reports Shannon will oversee the integration of Boom! alongside Keith Clayton, VP and publisher of RH Worlds, and Bill Takes, EVP of business strategy for RHPG, and the Boom! team. Boom!’s current distribution agreements will remain in effect, with Diamond Comic Distributors handling distribution to the direct market and Simon & Schuster distributing to trade bookstores.

Confirming the sale in an online post on the business social network LinkedIn and Facebook, Ross Richie declared the sale was “exciting news for creators.

“PRH is the biggest publisher in the world,” he noted. “They will be able to get more of our creators’ comics into more fans’ hands in the book trade because of their experience and size and in the Direct Market they are the distributor of choice for Marvel. Their publishing has global reach and will be able to get creators’ series into the international global market in a way that will be simply unmatched by anyone else.

Ross Richie

“This is exciting news for our retailers in the Direct Market,” Ross continued. “Random House Worlds, the division of PRH acquiring BOOM!, has experience publishing prose books of the biggest IP in the world, like Star Wars, Marvel, Critical Role, Magic The Gathering, and Dungeons and Dragons, so they love the pop culture space, understand its customer, and its distribution arm is already an experienced provider of Marvel Comics every week into the comic shop specialty space.

“This is exciting news for our fans. The biggest prose book publisher in the world is excited about comics and wants to get into the action and believes it is an area of growth. They want more people to read — more people to read comic books!”

Richie thanked Boom! Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Harned for her role in the sale, and Scott Lenet, co-founder and Director of the venture capital fund DFJ Frontier, “who saw potential in me and was willing to invest actual dollars in comic book publishing”.

“Thanks to Paul Levitz, one time President of DC Comics, who has been on the BOOM! board of directors for 10 years. He has served tirelessly hoping to provide the very best for the company’s creators, its retailers, and its staff.

“As for me, The Founder of the company, it has been an epic ride as CEO for 16 years and then my promotion to Chairman of the Board for the past three years.”

Confirming his eventual departure he said “I am not transitioning to Penguin Random House as a part of this deal, so that means I no longer work at BOOM!, the house I built and ran.

“I’m looking forward to exceptionally long vacations with my wife and two kids and figuring out anything I might want to do in the future. But for right now, the pool is looking really good.”

Boom! Studios is online at boom-studios.com



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