by Roger Yu)
News Corp said Friday that it has agreed to buy romance book publisher Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corporation for about $415 million in cash, a global expansion move in the popular fiction segment.
Harlequin, which is based in Toronto, will become a division of HarperCollins Publishers, a News Corp subsidiary.
"Harlequin is a perfect fit for the new News Corp, vastly expanding our digital platform, extending our reach across borders and languages," said Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, in a statement.
News Corp said the deal will extend HarperCollins' reach particularly into Europe and Asia Pacific, and will give HarperCollins "an immediate foothold" in 11 new countries. About 40% of Harlequin's revenues come from books published in languages other than English. Currently, 99% of HarperCollins books are published in English.
Harlequin publishes the work of more than 1,300 authors and releases more than 110 titles monthly, the company said. In 2013, Harlequin had revenues of $362 million.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.