Lagardère Third Quarter 2021 Results

Paris-October 28, 2021

Lagardère announced results for the first nine months of 2021 today. Highlights of the company’s financial performance are as follows:

At Hachette Book Group:
Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch said, “HBG’s year-to-date revenues through the third quarter are significantly above 2020, despite a difficult comparison in the third quarter due to the August 2020 publication of Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun.  This growth comes in part from comparison to 2020’s pandemic-impacted marketplace, along with strong sales of adult hardcovers and significantly increased sales for our third-party distribution clients.

The most important and exciting development in the third quarter was our acquisition of Workman, which closed September 23.  It has been a joy to welcome Workman’s employees, authors, and illustrators to HBG, and to begin experiencing Workman’s uniquely creative approach to publishing.

Major publications in the third quarter included Nicholas Sparks’ The Wish and James Patterson and Nancy Allen’s The Jailhouse Lawyer in adult fiction, and Joyce Meyer’s Authentically, Uniquely Yours in Christian publishing, a particularly strong category for HBG in 2021. Sales of Running Press’s Mini Kits program, led by the irrepressible Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy, were also up significantly.  Four HBG titles were #1 New York Times bestsellers in the quarter: James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s The President’s Daughter, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Bloodless, Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Hawthorne Legacy, and James Patterson’s Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son.

HBG’s illustrated books publishers are off to a great holiday-season start with new bestsellers Gastro Obscura, Paint By Sticker: Christmas, and Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Schitt’s Creek Story.  We’ll finish the year with a glorious lineup from David Baldacci, James S.A. Corey, Katie Couric, Sutton Foster, Victor Davis Hanson, Faith Jenkins, Christopher Kimball, Admiral William McRaven, Joel Osteen, Todd Parr, James Patterson, and Nikki Sixx, among many other bestselling and conversation-starting authors.”

At Hachette Livre:
Hachette Livre delivered revenue of €1.826 billion in the first 9 months of the year, up 9% as reported and up 10% like-for-like, according to Lagardère press release. “This increase reflected a favorable base effect, and the division’s good performance over the first nine months of 2021, with revenue up a sharp 7% on a like-for-like basis compared with the first nine months of 2019.” The difference between reported and like-for-like revenue is attributable to a €15 million positive scope effect (acquisitions of Laurence King Publishing and board game publisher Hiboutatillus), and to a €24 million negative currency impact in connection with the US dollar.

In the third quarter of 2021, revenue was €696 million, down 3% compared to the third quarter of 2020, “primarily reflecting an unfavorable comparison basis.”

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

 In France: France reported a 3% drop in revenue “due to the absence of curriculum reform in 2021 and the unfavorable comparison basis linked to the sharp rebound in sales following the lockdowns in the third quarter of 2020.” Illustrated books and books for young readers had a strong quarter.

In the US: third quarter revenues declined 9% in the US, which “reflected the unfavorable comparison basis with a strong third-quarter 2020 which was driven by bestsellers such as Midnight Sun and various releases related to the Black Lives Matter movement. In third-quarter 2021, sales were nonetheless lifted by General Literature releases and growth in Distribution for third-party publishers.”

In the UK: “In the United Kingdom, the 3% decline in revenue reflected the unfavorable comparison basis with the third quarter of 2020 during which bestsellers such as Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun posted strong sales performances. Sales momentum remained sustained however, particularly in the Youth Works segment.”

In Spain/Latin America: Business in Spain/Latin America rose 4%, attributed to “a recovery in Mexico, which had been severely impacted by the health crisis in 2020, and a stable performance in Spain supported by the performance of General Literature.”

Partworks: Partworks revenue “jumped by 9%, driven by good backlist performances in France and the United Kingdom in particular, and by collections launched over the past few months.”

Ebooks: In the third quarter, demand for digital formats “was sustained across the various geographic areas, despite an unfavorable comparison basis.” Ebooks accounted for 8.4% of total revenue for Lagardère Publishing, versus 9.9% in first-half 2020, while downloadable audio books represented 3.6% of revenue versus 3.7% in the third quarter of 2020.

Lagardere’s press release notes the acquisition of Workman Publishing, completed on September 23. “In the context of strong market consolidation, this acquisition is set to enable Hachette Livre to significantly boost Hachette Book Group’s US footprint, strengthen its positions in Youth Works and thereby create growth opportunities in expanding markets.”

At Lagardère:
The Lagardère group delivered €3.539 billion in revenue in the first nine months of 2021, up 8% on a reported basis and up 13% like for like. “The difference between reported and like-for-like figures is mainly attributable to a €56 million unfavorable currency impact (due mainly to the US dollar) and an €83 million negative scope effect, chiefly related to the non-retained scope.”

Read more in Lagardère’s press release.