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John Wisden & Co, the publishers of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, has been sold to the publishing house, Bloomsbury, marking the end of a 15-year association with the late Sir Paul Getty, who bought the company in 1993.
The Almanack, which has been published every year since 1864, is synonymous with cricket, with its annual publication every April heralding the start of each new English season. The book's diverse range of statistics, articles and opinion - including the Five Cricketers of the Year and the trenchant Notes by the Editor - ensures its enduring influence in the game, and in 2006, the book sold more than 50,000 copies for the first time in its history.
Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing, said: "Acquiring Wisden is a landmark event in the history of the company and an important step in our strategy to increase our presence in reference and sport publishing. It is an honour to be the new custodians of such an institution. We look forward to working with the current staff to make the 2009 Wisden a success."
Richard Charkin, the company's managing director and former board member of Wisden, was similarly pleased with the news. "I'm delighted," he told Cricinfo. "In publishing, there are lots of mergers, acquisitions and deals, some good and some bad, but very rarely are you in a position to acquire something quite so good. We're completely thrilled and we believe we will be good custodians, because we understand the brand."
The Almanack will be published by Bloomsbury's subsidiary, A&C Black, whose library of reference books includes Who's Who, Whitaker's Almanack, Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and such best-selling sports books as the Know the Game series. Whitaker's and Wisden have been part of the same stable before - from 1938 to 1943, J Whitaker and Sons published Wisden, with Haddon Whitaker taking over as editor during the war.