Longhorn Publishers limited is a public limited liability company wholly-owned and run by Kenyans. It was incorporated in Kenya in May 1965 as Longmans of Kenya a wholly owned subsidiary of Longman Group International of the United Kingdom. At that time, it was mainly a sales promotion office handling Longman publications published in UK. In December 1969, the company changed name to Longman Kenya Limited. During the 1970s, a limited local publishing programme was started and, around the same time, a few Kenyans were invited to join the Board of Directors.
Following the opening up of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many multinationals shifted their focus from Africa to the new markets. In addition, in the 1990’s, Kenya’s then Minister for Education banned the importation of textbooks. This forced multinationals to consider other ways of supplying the Kenyan market, including licensing, which drastically reduced their margins (as compared to supplying stock). As a result, in the 1980s Longman UK sold 40% of its shareholding to Kenyans with a further 20% being sold in 1991. Finally.in 1993, Longman UK fully divested from the company when it sold its remaining 40% shareholding to Kenyans. As a result of this divestiture, the company changed its name to Longhorn Kenya Limited.
In 2006, Longhorn undertook a rebranding exercise aimed at revitalizing the company’s image through the publishing of non-textbook reading materials. To this end, in 2007, the company launched its Sasa Sema Imprint after acquiring the intellectual property of Sasa Sema Publications Limited. Sasa Sema provides reference books, creative works, biographies and general knowledge books to cater for the unmet needs within the general readership space and thus provide a balanced diet. This initiative was in line with the company’s strategy of diversifying its product range to Include books for general readership. Longhorn is the only publisher with full approval by the Ministry of Education in 12 key subjects for secondary and primary schools.
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