AURELIUS buys British Book Club Associates from Bertelsmann


AURELIUS buys British Book Club Associates from Bertelsmann

  • Acquisition of Britain’s biggest mail-order bookseller
  • All shares acquired from DirectGroup Bertelsmann
  • Group revenue in the mid double-digit million euro range

Munich, 19 December 2008 – The Munich-based industrial holding AURELIUS is taking over the biggest British mail-order bookseller, Book Club Associates (BCA), with effect from 1 January 2009. Contracts governing the transaction have now been signed with BCA’s parent, Bertelsmann AG.

Beyond a traditional book club for general interest, Book Club Associates also comprises six special-interest book clubs catering to different target groups. The theme clubs cover everything from children’s books to Fantasy & Science Fiction through to history books and collector’s publications. The company currently counts almost 700,000 members. In 2008, BCA had total revenue in the mid double-digit million euro range, generated exclusively by the Club business.

In July, Bertelsmann had announced its plans to initiate the selling process for DirectGroup’s operations in nine countries and thereby focus DirectGroup’s business on the major European markets.

The takeover by AURELIUS shows that attractive companies in transition and special situations can successfully be taken over abroad even without having a subsidiary in that country. “AURELIUS already has subsidiaries in France, Ireland and Switzerland. Book Club Associates is the first company we’ve bought in the UK,” declares Donatus Albrecht, the AURELIUS board member in charge of acquisitions

Commenting on the sale, BCA's CEO George Saul says, “I am delighted that Bertelsmann has successfully concluded this exciting deal. Over the past four years we have created a promising platform for the future and I believe that AURELIUS will bring the enthusiasm and expertise to BCA's business which will ensure that it prospers in the future.”

After losses in the past, the company is expected to return to profitability in 2009. The parties agreed to keep the purchase price confidential. The transaction is expected to close by the end of January.


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