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Lagardère Third Quarter 2020 Results

Paris-November 5, 2020

Lagardère announced results for the first nine months of 2020 today. Highlights of the company’s financial performance are as follows:

At Hachette Book Group:

Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said, “HBG had an extremely strong third quarter, as bookstores reopened across the country, with revenues 19.2% above 2019. This is due to strong performances in several areas, especially children’s books, science fiction, general fiction, and audio, which have helped to offset the impact of the continuing global health crisis on some of our businesses.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers had a stellar quarter, with two major #1 bestsellers – Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun, one of the biggest books of the year, and Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Orbit Books continued its success with Andzrej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series, and had two significant industry awards, a Hugo Award for The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey and a World Fantasy Award for Kacen Callendar’s Queen of the Conquered. Grand Central Publishing had another massive  #1 bestseller with Nicholas Sparks’s The Return, and Hachette Audio continued its growth thanks to downloadable audio sales of Midnight Sun, The Witcher series, and continuing sales of Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers. A strong lineup of anti-racism titles from our backlist were among HBG’s top sellers of the quarter, including Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (Bold Type Books), So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Seal Press) and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum (Basic Books).

Last week, HBG announced two imprints: the creation of Legacy Lit, dedicated to books by and for people of color, as part of Hachette Books, led by VP and Publisher Krishan Trotman, and the launch of the acclaimed Christy Ottaviano Books imprint as part of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. These new imprints will expand our publishing success in important areas.

We’re closing out 2020 with a powerful lineup of new books from bestselling authors including David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Cressida Cowell, Elin Hilderbrand, Ijeoma Oluo, Joel Osteen, James Patterson, David Sedaris, Lindy West, and many others.  I’m enormously proud of how focused everyone at HBG has been throughout this year, despite extraordinary challenges, and I’m especially grateful to our operations and warehouse teams for their work to keep our business functioning in new ways throughout these unprecedented times.”

At Hachette Livre:

“Hachette Livre delivered revenue of €1.675 billion in the first 9 months of the year, down 1.9% on a consolidated basis and down 2.8% like-for-like, largely eliminating the lag recorded in the first half of the year,” according to Lagardère’s press release. The difference between consolidated and like-for-like data reflects the acquisitions of Le Livre Scolaire, Blackrock Games, and Short Books (for a positive scope effect of €18 million) and a €3 million negative foreign exchange effect.

“The global health crisis and associated lockdown restrictions put in place across the division’s regions had a negative like-for-like impact of 8.3% in first-half 2020. The rebound in trading observed in June was confirmed during the third quarter, which saw like-for-like revenue growth of 6.0%.”

The third quarter figures below are presented on a like-for-like basis:

 In France: “France reported revenue growth of 4.8% on the back of advances in General Literature and Illustrated Books, which benefited from the release of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun during the quarter. In contrast, Education was down as expected, with only one level of high school curriculum reform this year,” according to the release.

In the US: “Business surged 19.2% in the United States, spurred by the release of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in August and the latest title by Nicholas Sparks, The Return, at Grand Central Publishing in September. Several titles linked to the Black Lives Matter movement published by Perseus and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, also enjoyed success. Digital formats continue to enjoy bullish growth.”

 In the UK: “The United Kingdom also saw robust revenue growth over the quarter, up 15.6% thanks to the release of Midnight Sun and to a good performance from General Literature, led by Robert Galbraith’s Troubled Blood, released in September. Business in the United Kingdom also continued to benefit from strong momentum in digital sales.”

In Spain/Latin America: Business in Spain/Latin America declined 20.8%, hit hard by less extensive curriculum reform in Spain and Mexico, and by the impacts of the pandemic.

Partworks: Partworks revenue was down 7.6% due to a lighter release schedule in the first half of 2020 compared with the prior year, which had benefited from numerous successful launches, notably in France.

Ebooks: Ebooks as a proportion of total Lagardère Publishing revenue continued to grow, representing 9.9% in third quarter 2020 versus 7.8% in third quarter 2019, while downloadable audiobooks represented 3.7% of revenue compared to 2.9% in the prior year.

At Lagardère:

The Lagardère group reported revenue of €1.188 billion in the third quarter.

“The Lagardère group saw a year-on-year revenue decline of 38.3% in the third quarter of 2020, hit hard by the impacts of the pandemic on its Travel Retail business. This decline was partly countered by a 6.0% rise in revenue for Lagardère Publishing over the same period, driven by the success of its publications.”

Read more in Lagardère’s press release.