Czech publisher Albatros seals deal with Egmont

Photo: Kristýna Maková

The biggest Czech publisher of children’s books has just agreed to acquire its nearest rival with an eye on the rights to international hits that should result from the deal.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
A new chapter looks like it is going to be written in the Czech publishing market with one of the biggest players, Albatros Media, buying up a substantial part of the portfolio of one of its biggest rivals, Egmont.

Albatros Media is the biggest publisher of children’s books in the Czech Republic. While other sections of the book market have stagnated, sales of children books have recently performed strongly. Last year Albatros racked up sales of 519 million crowns with 306 titles being released onto the market.

Now, Albatros has sealed a deal to buy up a large chunk of the publishing activities of its main rival on the children’s book publishing scene, Egmont, from its Danish owners. Egmont had turnover of 115 million crowns in 2015 with 697 titles hitting the shelves for the first time.

One of the main reasons for the purchase, which leaves out the children’s comics which will stay with Egmont’s current owner, is the opportunity for Albatros to corner many international publishing rights which, as a big player in a small market, it has trouble at the moment acquiring.

Photo: Kristýna Maková
Egmont has the rights to use content from Walt Disney, Stars Wars, and Winnie the Pooh with part of the deal being that Albatros can land local publishing rights for this sought after global content. It’s estimated that the deal will give Albatros around 20 percent of the Czech publishing market, reckoned to be worth a total of around 7.2 billion crowns, when the takeover is completed.

Albatros over the last five years or so has already expanded in other directions. It bought the specialist published Computer Press in 2001. A year later, the publisher XYZ, was added. It had the rights to the best seller Fifty Shades of Gray, which also became a hit in Czech. Around 75 percent of Albatros’ sales come from the domestic Czech market with 20 percent coming from Slovakia. The publisher bought up B4U, which specialises in publishing content in foreign languages, mainly English.