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
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