Kraken Opus

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Kraken Opus
Status Active
Founded 2005
Founder Karl Fowler
Country of origin Guernsey
Headquarters location United Arab Emirates
Distribution Opus Media Group PLC
Key people Karl Fowler, Paul Murphy
Publication types Books
Nonfiction topics Sports teams; celebrities; arts; culture
Fiction genres Definitive publications
Official website

Kraken Opus is a publishing company operating from Guernsey in the Channel Islands; London, United Kingdom; and the United Arab Emirates. The company produces premium, outsized editions on subjects including sports teams[1] and celebrities,[2] and on broader topics including the Muslim hajj.[3] The company describes its publications, which are produced in limited editions retailing for up to £1m, as "works of art".[2]

Company history[edit]

The company is owned by Karl Fowler, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker.[4] He founded Kraken Opus following a period managing his own financial services company, for which he built up a client list including a number of sports stars. The interests of these clients inspired him to consider a high-end publication for sports fans;[5] he invested $5 million of his own money and of capital put up by friends and acquaintances to found Kraken Opus.[2] Its first title was the Manchester United Opus, published in 2006: the book weighed 97 pounds (44 kg) and each edition in its 10,000 run was priced between £3000 and £4500.[2][5]

In December 2008 the company opened a proprietary shop in Covent Garden.[6] The company entered voluntary administration in June 2009 when a US backer announced that a tranche of $6m in promised funding would not be forthcoming.[7] Days later, following an offer to existing shareholders, Fowler and partner Paul Murphy undertook a management buyout of the company,[8] announcing that a new Arab funder had been found at that the company's headquarters would be moved from London to the United Arab Emirates.[7] At the time the company faced criticism over the delayed publication of the £3000-per-copy Celtic Opus, which was postponed from July 2009, after pre-orders and deposits had been received.[9] The print run was also reduced, but the firm insisted that publication would still go ahead.[10]


Several of the company's publications have attracted press notice, including the Burj Dubai Opus, a 15-foot (4.6 m) tall edition of which was commissioned to stand in the lobby of the building on its opening.[11] A copy of the Manchester United Opus, auctioned for $1.5m to a Middle Eastern consortium with proceeds given to the Dubai Cares charity, was the most expensive sports book ever sold.[2][3] Wine Opus had a print run of only one hundred copies, each priced at AU£1.2m each;[12] while one hundred copies of the forthcoming Diego Maradona Opus are due to ship with samples of Maradona's blood and hair.[7] The Prince Opus was sold, in tandem with a branded iPhone model, for US$2,100.[13] Kraken Opus, in partnership with ticket vendor Ticketmaster, also produced the £109 Michael Jackson Opus, the only book licensed by the Jackson estate in the immediate aftermath of his death.[14]


  • Bradley Wiggins
  • Formula 1
  • Arsenal
  • Prince
  • Michael Jackson
  • Burj Khalifa


  1. ^ "Bokke join iconic book stable". Independent Online (South Africa. 5 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Waller, Martin (5 February 2009). "'This isn't all about money,' says publisher whose books command £1m price tags". The Times. London. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Ghazal, Rym (8 January 2009). "Haj celebrated on film and in print". The National (UAE). 
  4. ^ Watson, Jeremy (23 November 2008). "Weighing in at 81lbs, Celtic tome is a heavy read". Scotsman. 
  5. ^ a b Goodman, Leah Macgrath (17 September 2007). "Showing Some Spine". Portfolio. 
  6. ^ Pagano, Margareta (21 December 2008). "What recession? New bookshop tells a different story". The Independent. 
  7. ^ a b c "New chapter for cash-strapped Kraken Opus". The Australian. 19 June 2009. 
  8. ^ Fresco, Adam (18 June 2009). "The £1 million book is saved as management buys out Kraken Opus". The Times. London. 
  9. ^ Tait, Gordon (18 June 2009). "Firm producing Celtic Opus goes bust". Scottish Sun. 
  10. ^ Williams, Martin (18 June 2009). "Rescued publisher promises 3000 pounds Celtic book will go ahead". The Herald (Scotland). 
  11. ^ Lieberman, Michael (20 October 2008). "Only in Dubai : The Burj Dubai Opus". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  12. ^ Faulkner, Jane (3 August 2009). "Cellar Door". The Age. 
  13. ^ Chen, Brian X (13 April 2009). "Limited-Edition Prince iPod Is Purple Lame". 
  14. ^ Masson, Gordon (14 August 2009). "Ticketmaster enters the book business with Jackson opus". Music Week. 

External links[edit]