The long history of the publishing group controlled by Messaggerie Italiane
began between the two World Wars when Valentino Bompiani, met Arnoldo Mondadori.
Bompiani started to work with Mondadori and, in 1929, founded his own publishing house.
In 1935, Valentino’s brother-in-law, Umberto Mauri, founded Elicon, a literary agency, and started to help him in the publishing house. He had five children and the income from his agency was not high enough, so he went to work for Arnoldo Mondadori. In 1937 he was put in charge of Messaggerie Italiane
, the sole national distributor of books.
After the last War, Umberto Mauri gradually bought out Messaggerie Italiane
from Hachette. In this period, Fabio Mauri, the eldest son of Umberto, met Mario Spagnol in Lerici, where Valentino Bompiani had purchased a home and received the greatest writers of the time. Mario Spagnol was introduced to Valentino Bompiani who took him into the publishing house. So the publishing career of Mario Spagnol was launched in 1955, at the age of 25.
In 1963 Luciano Mauri took over from his father Umberto, who died in 1963, and established separate companies for each of the various activities of Messaggerie Italiane.
In 1977 he purchased Longanesi
, a publishing house with serious economic and financial difficulties and in decline in terms of publishing success, and in 1979 put Mario Spagnol in charge of it. Under Spagnol’s management Longanesi blossomed thanks to a series of best-selling authors: Wilbur Smith, Patrick Süskind, Michael Ende and Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti among others.
Having re-established the identity of Longanesi
, more acquisitions were made - Guanda
(1987) - and TEA
was founded as a joint venture with UTET (1987).
became a group and between 1986 and 1991 invested in rebuilding the identities of the various publishing houses.
In this period Mario Spagnol asked Stefano Mauri, son of Luciano, to re-create IL LIBRAIO, a magazine originally founded by Leo Longanesi, and to make it a true window display for the group
The accounts of the group reached break even point, but the company’s capital requirements still necessitated continual recourse to the shareholders. Many of today’s managers and directors also joined the group during this period. By 1991, the sales of the group reached 20 billion Lire.
Between 1991 and 1999 the sales of the individual publishing houses (including Corbaccio
, acquired in 1992, and Ponte alle Grazie
, acquired in 1993) grew further. Various genres were launched or re-launched: adventure (Cussler), humour (Covatta), New Age (Redfield), Latin American fiction (Sepúlveda), children’s fiction (Istrici, Gabbianella), edufiction (Gaarder), Indian fiction (Seth, Roy), Italian non-fiction (Terzani, Romano, Ottone).
Management structures were reformed to reconcile publishing, commercial and economic requirements. One by one, the publishing houses became self-sufficient in economic and financial terms, and this allowed them to grow even more rapidly. In turn, this growth strengthened the group’s self-financing capability. Longanesi
acquired Finarte’s shares in Corbaccio
It was during this period that the group gained true financial independence. Given the positive results from publishing activities, Messaggerie Italiane
purchased Finarte’s interests in Salani
, reaching 40%, and in Longanesi
(80%). An interest was also taken in Garzanti
which, however, did not join the group. The various group functions became integrated, creating efficiency and facilitating growth.
The sales of the group reached 100 billion Lire.
Mario Spagnol passed away in September 1999 and, following a series of discussions between shareholders and directors, decisions were taken with regard to the reorganisation of the group.
Stefano Mauri took over the helm of Longanesi which, in addition to its publishing activities, also acted as a holding company coordinating group strategy for all of its subsidiaries. He called on Marco Tarò, the former sales manager for Saggiatore, to assist him. With an eye to the future, internal procedures were reformed with a clearer separation of the various functions.
Luigi Spagnol, Mario’s son, became responsible for an independent area comprising Salani
and Ponte alle Grazie
. It was he who managed the Harry Potter phenomenon in Italy.
Luigi Brioschi, publishing director of Guanda
, was also appointed chairman of Guanda
and publishing director of Longanesi
Guglielmo Tognetti resigned as managing director of Longanesi
, a role he had shared with Mario Spagnol over a lifetime of work together, to assist Luigi Spagnol at Salani
and Ponte alle Grazie
Giuseppe Somenzi became chairman of ProLibro
, the group’s marketing company, which has achieved uninterrupted growth since 1988.
Stefano Res, already the director of TEA
, also became joint publishing director of Superpocket
, a joint venture with Rcs Libri, and was made editorial supervisor of Nord
Between 1999 and 2002, many of the publishing houses achieved some of their best results.
At the end of 2002, Stefano Mauri also became responsible for Garzanti Libri
. He called on Renzo Guidieri, former manager of TEA, at the time working in UTET, to assist him. Once again, the publishing house managed to reach economic equilibrium within a couple of years and regain the financial strength needed to assure autonomy.
The integration of certain functions (sales and printing) with those shared by the other publishing houses began in 2003. In the same year, Nord was acquired and entrusted to Marco Tarò, while Vallardi
purchased the Rough Guides
to broaden the group’s output in the travel sector.
In 2004 all the publishing houses reported profits. Consolidated net profit rose by 12%. The group sold more than 10 million copies directly, and over six million copies via licensing agreements with third parties. The sales of the group reached 100 million Euro.
In october 2005, following an agreement between the Mauri and Spagnol families, a new holding company named Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol was founded. It controls the 9 publishing houses - Corbaccio
, Garzanti Libri
, Ponte alle Grazie
- and ProLibro
, and holds 50% of Superpocket
The shareholders are: Messaggerie Italiane
73.77%, the Spagnol family, 23%, and Andrea Micheli, 3.23%.
Stefano Mauri and Luigi Spagnol, sons of the founders, have been appointed respectively President and CEO, and CEO of the company.
2006, Garzanti Libri,now once again a flourishing company, becomes part of the Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol.
The Pro Libro Service sales company is founded in order to promote third party publishers previously dealt with by ProLibro
and new clients. 50% of GE.AM.CO is acquired.Longanesi
publishes La fine è il mio inizio
is born. This new editorial project, a mixed shareholding of which GeMS owns 49%, is headed by Lorenzo Fazio.
publishes Toghe rotte by Bruno Tinti and Mani sporche by Gianni Barbacetto, Peter Gomez and Marco Travaglio.
After 20 years as publishing director Luigi Brioschi becomes partner of Guanda
Kim Edward’s The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (Garzanti
) and Ildefonso Falcones’La Catedral del Mar (Longanesi
) are the year’s most successful debut titles in Italy.
publishes the seventh Harry Potter book, sales of which soon reach one million copies, making it the best selling fiction title of 2008 (Nielsen data).
, a publishing house based in Barcelona, comes into being. It is the first foreign company owned by GeMS.
2009, difficult year for everybody on the planet. Very lucky for GeMS with the acquisition of La Coccinella and Bollati Boringhieri and, according to Nielsen data, the bestselling first
novel in Italian fiction (D.Carrisi, Il suggeritore, Longanesi
), the bestselling first novel in foreign fiction (G.Cooper, La biblioteca dei morti, Nord
) and the bestselling
first work in non fiction (G.Nuzzi, Vaticano S.p.A., Chiarelettere
2010, thanks to the extraordinary success of its catalogue, in 2010 GeMS achieved the highest growth rate (13%) in the Italian publishing industry. Several GeMS titles entered the Nielsen top 20 in the same year, such as the two cookbooksby Cristina Parodi and the bestselling novel L’ultima riga delle favole by Massimo Gramellini (Longanesi