Publisher Blackstaff Press taken over by Colourpoint
One of Northern Ireland's best-known publishing houses, Blackstaff Press, has changed hands for an undisclosed sum.
Blackstaff Press, founded in 1971, has been acquired from the Baird Group by Newtownards firm Colourpoint Creative, publishers of educational and other non-fiction books.
Blackstaff has a strong track record in both fiction and non-fiction, with an 800-strong back catalogue including works by John Hewitt, Bernard McLaverty, Glenn Patterson, Patricia Craig, Ciaran Carson and Eilis Ni Dhuibhne.
In recent times the business has achieved commercial success with a string of memoirs from authors such as John Richardson and Liam Beckett, a series of road racing books from Stephen Davison, and a growing humour list.
New owner Colourpoint Creative is the largest publisher based in Northern Ireland, with nine staff working from its offices in Newtownards.
The firm intends to invest in and expand the publishing activities of Blackstaff Press, which will continue to operate as a distinct publishing imprint.
Existing staff will continue to be involved in the business and existing relationships with sales teams, distributors and other key suppliers will remain unchanged.
Malcolm and Wesley Johnston, Directors of Colourpoint Creative, said they were excited at the prospect of making Blackstaff Press even more successful in the future.
"We are pleased that we are in a position to sustain Blackstaff Press, to invest in its future and grow the business," they said.
"Its strengths in the Irish market and further afield, as well as its heritage of creative, quality and independent publishing, complement recent developments at Colourpoint and we see this as great news for Irish publishing."
Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press, said: "The acquisition by Colourpoint Creative represents a new and exciting phase for Blackstaff and I look forward to the possibilities and opportunities ahead."
Welcoming the Blackstaff development, Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: "These are challenging times for the book industry and vision remains at a premium.
"This acquisition secures the Blackstaff brand and conserves a published backlist of considerable cultural and artistic value."