Sold: Sweden’s largest bookstore chain

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Akademibokhandeln AB is now sold to to Accent Equity 2012. Cooperative Union, KF, is selling its stake of 65 percent and most minority owners will follow.

”Our ambition is to assist management in developing Akademibokhandeln into a modern bookstore in class,” says Niklas Sloutski, CEO of Accent Equity Partners

The divestment is part of the streamlining process of the KF Group launched in 2013 in order to focus on its core business in the grocery trade.

Akademibokhandeln AB operates the leading bookstore chain with 120 stores and online bookstore through its subsidiary Bokus AB. Akademibokhandeln  and Bokus have a turnover of slightly more than 1.7 billion SEK in 2014 and reported a strong performance boost over the previous year. Both sales channels increased its shareholding in the Swedish book market during the year.

”The good earnings trend is the effect of a very successful turnaround work. Meanwhile, the KF Group has a clear strategy to focus on its core business and can now hand over to the owner that we believe are well positioned to continue developing the business,” says Tommy Ohlström, CEO of KF.

The capital released will be reinvested in Coop Sverige AB. Following the merger between Akademibokhandeln and Bokia 2013, the company received 70 owners. The two largest, after the KF, was Stiftelsen Bokförlaget Natur & Kultur och Killbergs Bokhandel. These partners will continue as shareholders in the company and to stand for maintaining the continuity of the ownership group. Other shareholders have offered to sell their shares in the company. Until today owners of more than 90 percent of the shares has accepted Accent deal.

”We want to preserve the book’s place in today’s competitive media landscape and offering a unique shopping experience for both young and old readers. It is gratifying to know Nature & Kultur and Killbergs will continue to take part in developing the company together with Accent and management,”  says Niklas Sloutski, CEO of Accent Equity Partners, advisor to Accent Fund.

The change of ownership means no changes for employees or franchisees. Akademibokhandeln management will be offered to invest in the company.

”KF has been a good and responsible principal shareholder. Accent support our business plan for both the physical and digital book. We look forward to an exciting journey together with our new main owner, who since many years established itself as a good owner for Nordic companies in both retailing and many other industries,”, says Maria Hamrefors, president of Akademibokhandeln AB.

Accent Equity recently bought the Cervera chain from Ica group.

The transaction is conditional on approval from the Swedish competition authorities