Published November 6, 2019 by Katherine Cowdrey, The Bookseller
Eric Carle, the author and illustrator behind such children's classics as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has decided at the age of 90 to sell his company to Penguin Random House.
The deal to acquire Eric Carle LLC – the intellectual property rights holder for Carle's books – is expected to close on 1st January 2020. The sum paid was undisclosed after the deal, struck by Madeline McIntosh, c.e.o. of PRH US, and Jen Loja, president of PRH’s Penguin Young Readers division, was announced this week.
While Eric Carle publishing at Penguin in the US will continue at the World of Eric Carle imprint under Francesco Sedita, president and publisher of the Penguin Workshop imprint, Penguin Young Readers will continue with sister company Penguin Random House Children’s UK to carry on the publishing–partner relationships for the Carle books.
Jen Loja, president, Penguin Young Readers, said the purchase of the Eric Carle works would "further strengthens our already close relationship with Puffin UK who have been wonderful partners on all things Carle for many years". She added: "We now will work even more closely on developing books, media and other products to insure that we are getting Eric’s works to the widest possible global audience. And we so look forward to continuing to grow this brand with Francesca and her fantastic team."
Reflecting on the deal and Puffin's publishing of Eric Carle in the UK since 1969, Francesca Dow, managing director for Penguin Random House Children’s, said: "It’s fantastically exciting news for Penguin Random House, something the whole company can feel excited and proud about. It signals the company belief and investment in Children’s and also our commitment to and investment in Children’s IP.
"And for us, we are already the proud publishers of Eric, whom we’ve been publishing for over 50 years.
"Eric Carle is a giant, a true original, a wonderful trusted global children’s brand. His distinctive sophisticated-naive art style (with his collage art from hand-painted paper) brings him unique design and style appeal beyond the children’s world. His art is collected. He is loved in every territory - on a design as well as a children’s author perspective.
"We already work closely with Jen and her team on so many shared properties, including Peter Rabbit, and we look forward to continuing to do so in even more exciting ways."
The deal follows the acquisition of Little Tiger Group, based in London, which publishes children's book favourite I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth. At the time, in March, PRH c.e.o. Markus Dohle said the publisher's "unique, nimble and international approach to children's publishing fits perfectly with our business at Penguin Random House" and he "look[ed] forward to growing together around the world". PRH also acquired a 45% stake in Illinois-based independent Sourcebooks, which has a focus on children's publishing, in May.