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SPCK will acquire from AFD the publishing business of Lion Hudson

The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and the AFD Group today announce it has been agreed that SPCK will acquire from AFD the publishing business of Lion Hudson.

Completion of the transaction is expected to take place so that from 8th May, Lion Hudson’s imprints will join the SPCK Group alongside the SPCK and IVP imprints. The new expanded SPCK Group will be the UK’s largest Christian publisher with income in excess of £8 million per annum.

All staff employed by Lion Hudson will move to SPCK, with managing director Suzanne Wilson-Higgins and finance director Caroline Gregory joining SPCK’s senior management team. The combined organisation will be headquartered at 36 Causton Street in London with an office at Prama House in Oxford.

James Catford, Chair of SPCK, said, ‘This is an exciting and visionary step which combines the UK market leader in children’s Christian publishing with the market leader in adult Christian publishing. The strengthened SPCK Group will now have the scale and resource to be a global leader in Christian publishing, in a worldwide marketplace with growing numbers of Christians, growing literacy, and the growing affordability of books.’

Sam Richardson, Chief Executive of SPCK, said, ‘I am delighted that this move continues SPCK’s momentum. In the last six years at SPCK, we have doubled our income, and won both the Christian Publisher of the Year and Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year awards three times. Our successful merger with Inter-Varsity Press has proven that we can both provide a seamless experience for authors and customers, and retain the distinctive theological approaches of different imprints under one roof. This move will help both SPCK and Lion Hudson to better serve our authors, our customers and the church in the UK and around the world.’

Suzanne Wilson-Higgins said, ‘The bringing together Lion Hudson, which has been stabilised under AFD’s ownership over the past three years, and SPCK creates a strong group dedicated to Christian book publishing and future growth. I’m excited about the opportunities for the SPCK Group to serve the church in the UK and around the world.’

David Dorricott, Managing Director of the AFD Group, said, ‘It has been a privilege to be part of God’s plan for Lion Hudson for a season – and we are delighted that this exciting opportunity will now release new energy not just in the amazing imprints of Lion Hudson, but also the wider SPCK group. We will continue to cheer them on in their vital work – especially in presenting a Christian world view to an increasingly secularised society!’

Notes for editors:

SPCK Group company history:  The SPCK Group is the UK’s leading Christian book publisher. Its vision is a world where everyone is transformed by Christian knowledge, and its mission is to lead the way in creating books and resources which help everyone to make sense of faith. Since coming under new management following the closure of its bookshops, SPCK has seen great success from its publishing in the last six years, doubling its income and winning Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year three times and Large Christian Publisher of the Year three times. The SPCK imprint is a broad-based imprint seeking to publish the very best Christian books. SPCK’s subsidiary Inter-Varsity Press specialises in evangelical books. SPCK is a charity founded in 1698 and governed by a royal charter. SPCK’s patron is Her Majesty the Queen and its president is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lion Hudson company history:  Lion Hudson has its origins in two distinct organisations: Lion Publishing, founded in 1971 by David Alexander, Pat Alexander and (in 1973) Tony Wales who left IVP to execute a clear vision of bringing accessible colour, photographic, Christian books to the general market. Hudson International (founded in 1977 by Angus Hudson) acted as a packager and printer of books for publisher clients. Later Hudson acquired publishers Monarch Books and Candle Books, and the whole group was acquired by Lion Publishing Plc in 2003. Renamed Lion Hudson Plc, it became a dominant force in UK Christian publishing in terms of both turnover and influence. Its mission statement has remained intact: “to publish worldwide quality literature true to the Christian faith”. Lion Hudson Plc became a leader in international children’s publishing through its innovative illustrated publishing, co-edition services to publishing partners and the reselling of language rights for US Christian publishers’ leading brands. Assets of the business were acquired by the AFD Group following the administration of Lion Hudson Plc in 2017.

Sam Richardson, Chief Executive of SPCK, is available for interview.  Please contact 0207 592 3902
David Dorricott, Managing Director of the AFD Group, is available for interview.  Please contact