International online publisher Emerald Group has taken a further step in expanding its range of operations by buying a specialist publisher of health and social care journals.

The £25 million Bingley-based firm has acquired Pier Professional, a Brighton-based firm which publishes 23 printed and online journals.

Emerald described the move as “a significant milestone” in the company’s bid to grow.

The acquisition of Pier follows Emerald’s move into emerging markets in Europe, Asia and Africa last autumn and the appointment of business managers to operate in the Czech Republic, Taiwan and South Africa.

The Pier Publishing journals, which cover the UK and Commonwealth countries, extends Emerald’s portfolio of 250 journal titles and span subjects such as mental health and well-being, criminal justice and care, forensic health and health sociology, and include the British Journal of Forensic Practice, Tizard Learning Disability Review, Journal of Public Mental Health and Drugs and Alcohol Today.

Emerald’s publishing director Rebecca Marsh said: “We are very excited by the acquisition of Pier Professional’s journal collection.

“It is a great opportunity for Emerald to expand its reach and develop a fuller presence in the health and social care field.

“Pier’s journal collection has excellent coverage in these subjects and Emerald’s acquisition of the titles is an important step in forging stronger links with both researchers and practitioners in these areas.

“Emerald values and encourages the exchange of ideas between practice and research and the titles from Pier Professional fulfil this important objective.”

Chris Parker, Pier Professional co-owner and director, said: “The integration of Pier Professional journals within the expanding social sciences portfolio of Emerald will provide a platform to continue the exciting opportunities to grow the influence and prestige of Pier journals through international and online developments available to Emerald.”

Emerald will continue to work with academic and practitioner editorial teams and partner organisations, including the Tizard Centre, University of Kent; TriNova Research and Consultancy; Nacro, the crime reduction charity; the Institute of Mental Health, and the Mental Health Foundation.

Emerald was advised on the acquisition by corporate partner Tim Radcliffe and solicitor Duncan Firman of Bradford and Leeds law firm Gordons.

Mr Radcliffe said: “This is a significant acquisition for Emerald as it provides the opportunity for further growth outside of its core activity of business academic titles. With a strong management team and a clear vision, the company is well positioned to continue to expand its offer.”

Grant Thornton in Leeds undertook financial and tax due diligence for Emerald. Jonathan Steed, who led the work, said: “We were pleased to advise Emerald on this important strategic transaction and very much enjoyed working with the management team. Our due diligence work focused on the key deal issues and supported Emerald’s negotiations with the vendors.

“Emerald is a world leading publishing business which is well placed to take advantage of future growth opportunities in the UK and overseas.”

In total, Emerald publishes more than 700 titles, and has 50,000 of its research articles downloaded every day.