Fox Williams’ publishing and digital media team advise on all legal aspects relating to traditional publishing and digital media.

We have a deep understanding of the legal intricacies surrounding content creation, distribution, licencing and the protection of intellectual property across various platforms.

While technology allows media platforms to evolve and exploit new opportunities in the creation and delivery content, the exponential rate of technological change and growth in AI brings new challenges and uncertainty. We support and advise our clients at all stages of their development and support them in navigating and understanding the legal risks the sector faces.

The cross-departmental team advises clients including world-known publishing houses, independent publishers (ranging from startup to industry leaders), academic publishers, educational content providers, digital content providers, business information providers, literary agents and digital agencies.

Publishing & digital media experience

  • Advised Trustbridge Global Media, owned by international private equity firm Trustbridge Partners, on its landmark acquisition of the children’s book publisher Walker Books Limited. The complex transaction involved the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Walker Books from two discretionary trusts which held the shares for the benefit of employees and authors, and the acquisition of the remaining shares from over 300 employees and authors who held shares either directly or through the Walker Books’ share incentive plan.

  • Advised on the formation of Gemini Books Group with the acquisitions of Imagine That!, Palazzo Editions, Ad Lib Publishers, Mardle Books and Pimpernel Press (Pimpernel).

  • Advised the shareholders of GlobalInvestor.com on the sale of independent publisher Harriman House to Pan Macmillan, one of the largest general book publishers in the UK.

  • Advised Indagate Group on its sale of MICAP, the recognised market leader in the provision and publication of independent research and advice tools on tax advantaged products, to Defaqto.

  • Advised the founder and majority shareholders of Cyber-Duck Limited, a digital agency, on the sale of the entire issued share capital to CACI Limited, a leading data and technology solutions company.

  • Advised the shareholders of Welbeck Publishing Group on its sale to Hachette. Welbeck was founded by Marcus Leaver and Mark Smith and is a London-based book publisher of fiction, narrative and illustrated non-fiction, as well as gift and children’s books. The sale also included Welbeck’s successful Australian business.

  • Advised the founders of Nelson Croom, publisher of the Accounting CPD online professional development courses, on its sale to The Learning People (a portfolio company of investment house Cow Corner).

  • Advised the shareholders of Illuminate Publishing, an educational publisher with a focus on exam courses, student books and revision guides on its sale to Hodder Education Group.

  • Advised on the sale of online legal publisher, Justis Publishing Limited, to global legal research company vLex Holdings Limited. The transaction builds on Fox Williams’ experience of the EdTech and online learning sectors.

  • Advised the shareholders of Jessica Kingsley (Publishers) Limited on its sale to Hachette. Jessica Kingsley is one of the leading publishers of behavioural and social science titles.

  • Advised Welbeck Publishing Limited on its acquisition of Carlton Books and Jonathan Goodman Publishing.

  • Advised Osprey Publishing Ltd on its follow-on investment from Alcuin Capital Partners LLP to finance the acquisition of British Wildlife Publishing Limited. Following on from this, Fox Williams also advised Osprey on the acquisition of the assets and publishing businesses of Duncan Baird Publishers.

  • Advised the estate of Peter Mayer and his company, Gerald Duckworth & Company Ltd on the disposal of the majority of the company’s publishing assets to Prelude Books Ltd.

  • Advised the shareholders of education communications agency EdComs Limited on its acquisition by Everfi. The acquisition has given EdComs and EVERFI a global platform from which to deploy education addressing social issues alongside a roster of well-known brands and companies.

  • Advised on the sale of Zed Books and Zed Scholar to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. The transaction involved the sale of substantially all of the publishing business, including Zed Books and Zed Scholar, of Zed Books Limited, an employee collective, to worldwide publishing house Bloomsbury.

Publishing & digital media FAQs

Our IP team provides in depth advice on copyright, design, know how, patent and trade mark exploitation, infringement, and licensing matters.

We look to provide publishers with commercial advice on their standard form and bespoke publishing contracts as well as other contracts commonly encountered in the publishing sector (such as subsidiary rights agreements and co-edition agreements). We also have a specialist team of lawyers who advise on agency and distribution agreements (www.agentlaw.co.uk and www.distributorlaw.co.uk).

We have a number of clients which are structured as employee collectives or are owned by employees or employee share ownership plans and trusts. We have advised on all stages of the business life-cycle of such organisations from initial structure, incentive arrangements and eventual exit and sale.

We provide specialist data protection advice to leading independent publishers, business information providers and other UK and international publicity and media companies. In particular we have a wealth of experience in assisting publishing companies navigate GDPR compliance.

"Fox Williams provide very strong, thoughtful and commercially relevant advice. They are consistently responsive and always make themselves available."


Chambers UK 2024

"The breadth of knowledge, delivered in a commercially sound manner, is very refreshing and the team has been my go-to on complex regulatory matters for many years. Highly regarded and recommended."


Legal 500 2024

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