Macmillan & Springer merge: Can family owned publishing and private equity together re-invent the business of publishing ?

Two of the largest science publishing groups in the world, Macmillan and Springer Media, have announced to merge.  The resulting global player will have combined revenues of €1.5 bn, 13,000 employees – and the ambition to become the fourth biggest STM and Education publisher (after Pearson, Reed Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer).

But wait a minute, isn’t Holtzbrinck, Macmillan’s parent company, which will have the upper hand in the merger with a stake of 53 percent, a family owned business, while Springer is controlled by Private Equity?

Or, as Ewald Wagenbach, of Springer’s controling BC Partners, phrases it, „a strategic milestone in the more than 150 year history of both businesses and shows how family businesses and private equity can work together“.

It will be more than just interesting for science publishers and for scientists, whose papers are published by the new powerhouse, how the 19th century of learned societies, the 20th century of academic publishing, and the 21st century of publishing in global networks of content production and distribution will find common ground, and a joint perspective!

We will look at it more closely in this year’s update of the Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry (for release in June)! Stay tuned.

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