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Posted 03 Jun 2001   For week ended June 01, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Jun01

By Kent Larsen

Merger of LDS Publishers Dissolves

BOUNTIFUL, UTAH -- The purchase of longtime LDS publisher Horizon Publishing and Distribution by newcomer Cornerstone Books announced last Fall has fallen apart, the victim of financial woes. Last August Cornerstone owner Richard Hopkins agreed to purchase Horizon, where he once worked, from its only owner, Duane Crowther, who was going on an LDS mission. But Hopkins says that when financing fell through unexpectedly, the combined firm was left without enough capital. The unexpected turn of events left the LDS market smaller, without the 12 to 24 new titles that Hopkins planned to publish each year.

The split occurred in April, after Hopkins struggled for months to find alternative financing. He says he had a verbal commitment for the financing from Zions Bank, but that after the purchase agreement had been signed, Zions cancelled the commitment. He then searched and found additional financing early this year, but by that time the combined company had fallen behind in many areas, including its scheduled payments to Crowther.

The loss of income forced Crowther, who was depending on the income for his mission and retirement, to return and address the problem. Hopkins says that he tried to renegotiate the deal, but that they were not able to reach a satisfactory agreement. Finally, in April, Crowther foreclosed and took over Horizon again. He has since brought in Clay Gorton to work as the company's General Manager and longtime LDS publishing veteran John Hawkes to serve as Production Manager. With the company returning to stability, Crowther has returned to his missionary service.

The experience has left both companies weaker. Gorton says that Horizon is getting back into operation, printing additional copies of backlist titles that had run low and getting flyers out to customers advertising its products. He says that Horizon is just now addressing new manuscripts, and certainly won't have any new titles out before late in the Fall.

Cornerstone has also been hurt because of the breakup, but has managed to find enough resources to get back in the market more quickly than Horizon. The company has a few new titles scheduled for this summer and expects to work back into full production in the Fall.


Mormon News interviews with Richard Hopkins, Clay Gorton

Cornerstone Finds Firm Foundation Without Horizon Publishers
The LDS Bookseller Spring01 B4
By Richard Hopkins

Small LDS Publisher Cornerstone Buys 29-year-old Horizon


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