Merger Announced Between Springer and Kluwer

New firm will be second largest commercial scholarly publisher.

It was recently announced that Bertlesmann has agreed to sell BertelsmannSpringer for €1.05 billion to Cinven and Candover, the ‘leading European buyout specialists’.Cinven and Candover already own Kluwer Academic Publishers (bought last year for €600 million) and they plan to merge the two companies to make the world’s second largest commercial publisher of science, technical, and medical journals (after Elsevier).

To create the merged company (to be called Springer) Cinven and Candover will have spent over €1.6 billion. They obviously believe that they can re-coup this investment as well as increase the profit margins of the two companies to levels equivalent to those of Elsevier (about 40%). As part of this strategy they have already announced that Derk Haank, until now head of Elsevier, will be the Chief Executive of the merged Springer/Kluwer.

Many of us believe that this merger will bring no benefits to libraries or to researchers as readers and authors. While we are sure that Cinven and Candover will be able to re-coup some of there investment by redundancies and operating efficiencies, these will provide only part of the equation. Our concern is that the rest, together with the increased profit margins, will come from library budgets!

SPARC Europe, together with LIBERSCONUL, and CURL, have have sent a letter to the European Commission urging them to investigate the purchase of BertelsmannSpringer. You may find the text of the letter here.

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