Comic book publishers Oni Press and Lion Forge are planning to undergo a merger, as announced in the New York Times.
The new combined publisher will operate out of Oni’s base in Portland, Oregon, with Oni’s James Lucas Jones serving as publisher and president. Sarah Gaydos will serve as the new publisher's Editor-in-Chief. The deal to bring the two publishers together was negotiated by multi-media company Polarity, Lion Forge's parent company.
Lion Forge founder Dave Stewart II said of the deal, “There’s a lot of alignment, we’re going down the same path,” adding that the deal constituted greater opportunities to expand into TV, movies, and animation.
“What the team at Oni has built over the past 20 years is not only remarkable, but aspirational” Steward said. “When we first approached Joe (Nozemack), James, and Charlie (Chu) about the idea of working together, we hoped it would be a natural fit, as our shared mission is to bring diverse content to a global audience. The more we spoke, the more the relationship evolved to the point that we knew our combined experience and resources would align to achieve that goal and advance our unique position in the marketplace.”
“We’re very excited about the resources and the business expertise that David and Polarity and Lion Forge folks are bringing over,” added James Lucas Jones. “So many potential partnership conversations that we’ve had in the past were really focused on looking at us like an intellectual property farm.”
Lion Forge and Oni are expected to make staffing changes as part of the merger, with each publisher currently employing a staff of around 20 people.
“We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of areas of growth as well,” explained Stewart.
No time frame for the merger was announced.
In March 2019 Oni was the 10th ranked publisher on Diamond's Direct Market market share chart with 0.74% in dollar share and 9th in unit share with 0.64%. Lion Forge was not ranked in the top 10.