The sale of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s publishing company, HMH Books & Media, to News Corp (parent company of HarperCollins) is complete… and doesn’t include the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt name, which the original parent company intends to keep for its technology business. HarperCollins says they will phase out use of the name, ending a legacy that began over a century and a half ago when Boston printer Henry Houghton branched out into publishing in 1864, partnering with George Hurd to form Hurd & Houghton. George Harrison Mifflin joined four years later, and the company went on to acquire other publishers. They eventually became Houghton Mifflin & Company in 1880, renamed Houghton Mifflin Company in 1908. In those early days they produced some educational titles, but also books by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, and Mark Twain, among others. Other mergers and acquisitions followed, and the company’s final incarnation as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt began when they joined with Harcourt Brace in 2007.
The $349 million sale closed on May 10, 2021. HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray said the temporary organization will have Ed Spade in charge; he took over HMH Trade in November 2021. Deb Brody remains vice president and publisher for HMH Adult Trade, and will report to Liate Stehlik, Morrow Group President. On the children’s side, Cat Onder, senior vice-president and publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers, will report to Suzanne Murphy, who runs HarperCollin’s Children’s. The deal adds more than 7,000 titles to the HarperCollins backlist, including The Lord of the Rings and other titles by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and works by Lois Lowry.
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