Harry Potter Publisher Bloomsbury Jumps on Brighter Outlook

  • Publisher looking to diversify away from famous franchise
  • The company signed a partnership with Spotify earlier in May

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc jumped to its highest in more than 11 years after the publisher of Harry Potter said this year’s financial performance will be well ahead of its earlier expectations, buoyed by a strong book list in the second half.

The London-based company’s full-year results were partly lifted by marketing and re-releases surrounding the 20th anniversary of the first book in its most famous franchise -- whose sales rose by 31 percent -- as well as weight-loss cook books. The first of the Harry Potter series even made its way back into the list of the top 10 best-selling U.K. children’s books.

Chief Executive Officer and founder Nigel Newton is looking to diversify the publisher away from its historic focus of U.K. and consumer sales, seeing academic texts and overseas English-learners as growth areas. Sixty-three percent of Bloomsbury’s sales are non-U.K., and “it should be even more,” he said in a phone interview. The company is plotting more academic acquisitions after buying small publisher IB Tauris earlier this month, he added. The company also recently announced a music book partnership with Spotify Technology SA.

Pretax profit for the year ended February 28 rose 10 percent to 13.2 million pounds ($17.8 million) on sales of 161.5 million pounds. The stock traded up 7.7 percent at 223 pence at 9:15 a.m. in London.

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