I advise companies on New Business, Mergers & Acquisitions in Publishing & Pop Culture
Kuo-Yu Liang 梁國瑜 (he/him)
''You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.'' - Mia Hamm
I help companies make money, save money and save time.
M&A sell-side representation: Astra Publishing House acquiring DAW Books in association with Book Advisors.
M&A sell-side representation: Mad Cave Studios acquiring Papercutz in association with Book Advisors.
M&A sell-side representation: Hexagon Comics IP library in association with Book Advisors.
Select Business Development Clients (full list at the bottom of this page)
Broker for IMPS (Smurfs) in Belgium.
Broker for Italian printer Elcograf.
Broker for overstock buyer 66Books in the UK.
Broker for Korean webtoon studio People N Story, in association with Co.Mint.
Advisor to Sharjah Book Authority.
Advisor to Udon Entertainment.
Advisor to graphic novel publisher Difference Engine in Singapore.
Advisor to audiobook publisher RB Media.
Advisor to Sandstorm Comic Studio in Abu Dhabi.
Advisor to event company Leftfield Media.
Advisor to e-commerce company Premiere Book Group.
Advisor to film & tv production studio Hirsch Giovanni.
Serving on the Book Industry Charitable Foundation board supporting book & comic store employees.
Serving on the Shelf Awareness advisory board.
Serving on the Big Bad Wolf Sharjah board.
Served on advisory boards for Bertelsmann Synergy Group, , Lucasfilm Licensing, Reading With Pictures, Geek Girl Con, Comics for Community & Compassion, and ReedPOP Global Strategy Group.
''I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.'' - Wayne Gretsky
What I do
Mergers & Acquisitions
Help clients sell whole companies, shares, divisions, or selected assets.
Advise companies on strategy, partnerships and joint ventures.
Help companies expand into new products and markets.
Business Development Leadership panel for the International Game Developers Association
Current and Past Clients
66 Books | ALO | Big Bad Wolf Malaysia | Book Industry Charitable Foundation | Clover Press | Co.Mint | DAW Books | Devil's Due | Difference Engine | Elcograf | Erasmus Fox | Espada Art | Fair Square Comics | Fan Expo | Forgotten Runes Wizards Cult | Geek Girl Con | Girl Friday | Hirsch Giovanni | IMPS (Smurfs) | Kadokawa World Entertainment | KOTRA (The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency | Leftfield Media | Lyte | Papercutz | People N Story | Post Hill Press | Premier Collectibles | Quarto Book Group | RB Media | Reading With Pictures | Sandstorm Studio | Seven Seas Entertainment | Sharjah Book Authority | Shelf Awareness | Simon & Schuster Client Service | The Story Division | Titanic Creation | Udon Entertainment | Zoop
''Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it's the courage to continue that counts.'' - Serena Williams
ReedPOP, Director of Global Business Development (2018 - 2020). Focus on bringing new business for a portfolio of 50+ events including New York Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, MCM UK, Indonesia Comic Con, Seoul Comic Con, Comic Con India, Singapore Comic Con, Paris Comic Con, and Book Expo.
Diamond Book Distributors, VP, Sales, Marketing & Business Development (2003 - 2018). Launched new division to expand sales beyond comic shop and into Amazon, bookstores, libraries & mass market. Launched UK & International sales divisions.
Penguin Random House, Associate Publisher, Director of Business Development and Licensing (1990 - 2003). Acquired Star Wars, Halo, and Peanuts licenses. Worked with New Line Cinema on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Launched client distribution division. Launched the ebook division. Launched video game sales division.
''Don't be the best. Be the only.'' - Kevin Kelly
Conventions and speaking engagements
Guest at Storm the Block in Abu Dhabi (December, 2023)
MC at the Sharjah International Booksellers Conference (May, 2023)
Moderator and speaker on panels about webtoon, and manga at the Bologna Children's Book Fair (March, 2023)
Speaker on a discussion about graphic novels & webcomics organized by the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Council for the Arts (November, 2022)
Moderator on the manga and webcomics panel at the Sharjah Publishers Conference (October, 2022)
Guest on the Future of Digital Manga panel at SaturdayCon in January, 2022.
Guest at WriterFest Nashville in November, 2021.
Speaker at Beyond Games 2021, The World Webtoon Forum 2020, The IGDA business development leadership panel 2021, Anime Expo Lite 2021 (as moderator) and Kids Comics Insider 2021.
Have been interviewed by CNN, Reuters, Comic Con India Geekly, ICV2, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal.
''An investment said to have an 80% chance of success sounds far more attractive than one with a 20% chance of failure. The mind can't easily recognize that they are the same.'' - Daniel Kahneman
News, Press, Publications & Panels:
Client Difference Engine signed worldwide distribution agreement with Diamond Book & Comic Distributors. (November, 2023)
Client Difference Engine wins three prizes at the Singapore Book Award, including Book of the Year. (September, 2023)
Client Sandstorm announce Storm the Block event in Abu Dhabi. (August, 2023)
Client Seven Seas Entertainment launched audiobook imprint Siren. (June, 2023)
Client Sharjah Book Authority launch Sharjah Animation Conference. (May, 2023)
Client audiobook publisher RB Media announced partnership with J-Novel Club. (November, 2022)
Article in BookBrunch aobut the manga and webtoon panel I moderated at the 2022 Sharjah Publishers Conference (November, 2022)
Moderated the panel on the Growing Global Markets for Manga and Webtoon at the 2022 Sharjah Publishers Conference with VIZ, Yen Press, Manga Arabia and Media Do International. (October, 2022)
Participated in Mad Cave Studios acquiring my client Papercutz. Article in Forbes. (August, 2022)
Shelf Awareness article on Astra Publishing House acquiring my client DAW Books (July, 2022)
Participated on The Digital Future of Manga panel with Tapas and Media Do International at SaturdayCon (January, 2022)
Comment in Project Anime on 2022 anime & manga industry predictions (January, 2022)
Comment in Publishers Weekly about the return of New York Comic Con (October, 2021)
Comment in Project Anime about the Crunchyroll-Funimation unified anime subscription experience (September, 2021)
Interviewed by Publishers Weekly about the return of in-person comic cons (July, 2021)
Interviewed by Publisher Weekly podcast about Marvel and Penguin Random House entering the comics business together. (April, 2021)
Co-wrote an Op-Ed in Project Anime about the future of pop culture conventions after Covid. (March, 2021)
Written the 2021 Library Journal annual graphic novel & manga preview. (April, 2021)
Interviewed by journalist Rob Salkowitz about Marvel going to Penguin Random House for comic stores distribution. (March, 2021)
''Be a learn it all not a know it all.'' - Reid Hoffman
My book recommendations:
Four books that inspired & educated me on business: FROM START-UP TO GROWN-UP: GROW YOUR LEADERSHIP TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS by Alisa Cohn | THE HARD THINGS ABOUT HARD THINGS: BUILDING A BUSINESS WHERE THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS by Ben Horowitz | BUILT TO SELL: CREATING A BUSINESS THAT CAN THRIVE WITHOUT YOU by John Warrillow | TRILLION DOLLAR COACH: THE LEADERSHIP PLAYBOOK OF SILICON VALLEY'S BILL CAMPBELL by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle.
2022: DEAD WAKE: THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA by Erik Larson | CATHEDRAL OF THE WILD: AN AFRICAN JOURNEY HOME by Boyd Varty | THE HOUSE OF CUCCI: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER, MADNESS, GLAMOUR, AND GREED by Sara Gay Forden | RED CARD: FIFA AND THE FALL OF THE MOST POWERFUL MEN IN SPORTS by Ken Bensinger | THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE & NATURE WRITING series
2021: LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren | EMPIRE OF PAIN: THE SCRET HISTORY OF THE SACKLER DYNASTY by Patrick Radden Keefe | HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: INSIDE THE MIND OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY by Robert Kolker | THE PREMONITION: A PANDEMIC STORY by Michael Lewis
2020: SAY NOTHING: A TRUE STORY OF MUDER AND MEMORY IN NORTHERN IRELAND by Patrick Redden Keefe | SIX DAYS OF WAR: JUNE 1967 AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST by Michael B. Oren | NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND by Bill Bryson | NO RULES RULES: NETFLIX AND THE CULTURE OF REINVENTION by Reed Hastings
2019: MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST NUCLEAR DISASTER by Adam Higginbotham | BAD BLOOD: SECRETS AND LIES IN A SILICON VALLEY STARTUP by John Carryrou | FURIOUSLY HAPPY: A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT HORRIBLE THINGS by Jenny Lawson | ENDURANCE: SHACKLETON'S INCREDIBLE VOYAGE by Alfred Lansing | SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND by Yuval Noah Harari
''Simplify and go.'' - Nike vision statement
''Kuo-Yu is perhaps the most connected, respected, and strategic thinker I've ever met in the pop culture space. He knows and appreciates how the markets operate at a global level, and can piece it all together with a perspective that is unrivaled.
Most importantly though – he truly, genuinely cares about people that work in this industry and wants folks to succeed, and will move mountains to help others.''
– Guy ''Yug'' Blomberg, Founder, Game Industry Gathering
''I always believe six impossible things before breakfast.'' - Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass