News Corp. closes $416-million deal for romance publisher Harlequin

News Corp. has completed its $416-million purchase of romance novel publisher Harlequin Enterprises

Rupert Murdoch's publishing company, News Corp., has completed its $416-million purchase of Harlequin Enterprises from Torstar Corp. of Canada.

Harlequin, the world-famous publisher of romance novels, will operate as a separate unit within HarperCollins Publishers and remain headquartered in Toronto.

News Corp. in May announced that it was acquiring Harlequin. It was attracted to Harlequin, in part, because it reaches an audience of voracious readers. Harlequin also has a growing business of digital book sales.

Harlequin was an intriguing catch with international mystique.

The romance publisher has a large overseas presence: Its books are translated into as many as 33 languages and sold in more than 100 international markets. Harlequin has offices in more than a dozen countries.

In contrast, HarperCollins books are primarily printed in English.

"The addition of such an iconic brand with a loyal audience, robust global expertise and digital depth is a proud and purposeful moment for our company," Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp., said in a statement Friday announcing that the deal had been finalized.

"Onward to the next chapter," Thomson said.

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