News Corp to Acquire Romance Novel Publisher Harlequin

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Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.

The $415 million cash deal for the Toronto-based women's love story maker will extend HarperCollins’ global reach, said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.

TORONTO – News Corp is to buy the frothy love story publisher Harlequin Enterprises from Canadian newspaper group Torstar Corp. for $415 million (CAN$455 million) in cash.

The profitable women's fiction maker will join HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary, and remain headquartered in Toronto.

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The deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approvals, brings best-selling Harlequin writers like Brenda Jackson, Susan Mallery and Diana Palmer to the HarperCollins fold.

“Harlequin is a perfect fit for the new News Corp, vastly expanding our digital platform, extending our reach across borders and languages, and is expected to provide an immediate lift to earnings,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, in a statement on Friday.

Torstar, which operates Canada's largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star, first acquired control of Harlequin in 1975, before securing full ownership in 1981.

Torstar will use some of the proceeds from the Harlequin sale to pay down debt.