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Bloomsbury Gains on Signs Digital Shift Is Working: London Mover

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, producer of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, rose 6.3 percent for its biggest four-day gain in almost six years as investors bet on its success with electronic books and more diverse titles.

The stock rose 7.63 pence to 128.63 pence at the close of trading in London. About 1.82 million shares changed hands, more than 10 times the three-month daily average. The stock has advanced 11 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 95 million pounds ($143.7 million).

“While traditional print publishing is under pressure Bloomsbury has transformed its internal structure,” wrote Steven Liechti, a London-based analyst at Investec Securities, in a note to clients. “If Bloomsbury can successfully migrate to sustainable growth and prove its integrated publishing model, we believe its valuation multiple can increase.”

Liechti reiterated a buy rating on the stock two days ago and forecast a price target of 183 pence after the publisher posted a 61 percent increase in e-book sales to 9.1 million pounds in 2012 while targeting 50 percent of profit from digital books within five years.

Bloomsbury also plans to increase profit from books on cooking, sport and natural history by becoming the “number one publisher of choice” in those categories, the London-based publisher said on May 21.

“The benefits of the diversification strategy shine through,” wrote Gareth Davies, an analyst at Numis Securities in London who rates the stock a hold, in a note to clients dated May 21. “What was clear from the results is the benefit of Bloomsbury’s increasing diversification away from adult and children’s books.”

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