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Mon 10 Sep 2007 11:19 AM

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UK's Bloomsbury launches forum with Qatar

'Harry Potter' publishers sign deal with Qatar finance authority to publish 'guide to financial world'.

Britain's Bloomsbury Publishing, which publishes Harry Potter books, said on Monday it had signed a partnership with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority to develop a banking and finance information resource.

"It will be the definitive guide and reference to the financial world today and will become the globally recognised print and online first point of reference for people involved in finance from business leaders to students and all levels in between," said Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing.

The forum is scheduled for launch in autumn, 2009.

Bloomsbury has enjoyed phenomenal success with the Harry Potter series but said in June it is getting ready for life after Potter.

The publishing firm is in a drive for acquisitions and looking to sign up more best-selling authors and to have a deeper involvement in digital media.

The company's profits in the year to end-December fell to 5.2 million British pounds ($10.5 million) from 20.1 million ($40.8 million) a year ago, a drop underscored by there being no Potter paperback title last year.

Numis media analysts said they were keeping their 'hold' recommendation on Bloomsbury, partly due to uncertainty about how the group diversifies beyond the Potter franchise.

Bridgewell Securities' said the company's reference rights deals also have the potential to help restore ground lost by last year's profit warning.

Bloomsbury has recently signed long-term reference rights deals with Oxford University Press, Microsoft and historic information business ProQuest covering online versions of publications such as "Who's Who" and Web-based reference databases.

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