Originally an independent publisher, Franklin Watts, Inc. was founded in 1942 by Franklin Watts, and sold to Grolier in 1957. Franklin Watts retired from the company in 1967, moved to London, and started Franklin Watts Ltd. (incorporated in 1969). He retired again in 1976.
Grolier, including the Franklin Watts imprint, was acquired by the French Hachette in 1988, which then acquired Children's Press in 1996. Many of the Franklin Watts titles were then published under the Children's Press imprint. Grolier was sold to Scholastic in 2000, along with the US rights to Children's Press, Franklin Watts and Orchard Books. In the UK, Franklin Watts remains as an imprint of Hachette Children's Books.