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Reed-Elsevier sells book division

The Anglo-Dutch publishing group Reed-Elsevier said yesterday it had agreed to sell the adult trade division of Reed Books to publisher Random House. It gave no financial details but said it intends to sell the rest of Reed Books in due course, which comprises the children's, illustrated and reference divisions.

The business includes the authors Roddy Doyle, Umberto Eco, Graham Greene, George Orwell and Sue Townsend. It includes well-known trade names William Heinemann, Mandarin Paperbacks, Methuen, Minerva, and Secker & Warburg.

John Holloran, chief executive of Reed Books, said: "We are proud of our trade division and its dedicated staff, whose skills are amply reflected in the large number of best sellers and prestigious awards won in the past five years."

"However, the adult fiction market is polarising between economies of scale and small specialist businesses serving niche sectors. By joining with Random House the division will now be part of a group dedicated to being a leader in UK trade publishing. It is an exciting time for the staff."