Aurelius acquires UK-based Connect Books

21.12.2017

Aurelius acquires UK-based Connect Books

  • European multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of books with revenues of approx. EUR 250 million in 2017
  • Non-core asset of UK-listed Connect Group as it focuses on its specialist logistics business
  • Significant potential for the AURELIUS operating model
  • Connect Books to be rebranded back to Bertram Group

Munich/London December 21, 2017 – AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN DE000A0JK2A8) (“Aurelius” or “the Group”), the listed pan-European mid-market investor, today announces the acquisition of Connect Books from FTSE-listed specialist distribution company Connect Group Plc.

Connect Books is a multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of printed and digital books, with operations in UK, the Netherlands, and France. The business has projected revenues of approximately EUR 250 million for 2017. Connect Group is selling the division as it seeks to focus its strategy on its specialist logistics business. The transaction is subject to the approval of the competition authorities and is expected to close in January 2018.

On completion, Connect Books, will be rebranded back to Bertram Group.

European multi-channel wholesaler, distributor and retailer of books with revenues of approx. EUR 250 million in 2017

Connect Books is a global multi-channel books business with a strong competitive position across the UK and Europe. It is comprised of six distinct brands as follows: 

·        Bertram Books is a leading UK B2B books wholesaler. Bertram offers bespoke services, from complete stock management tools to direct fulfilment for internet retailers.

·        Wordery is the UK’s fastest growing B2C online bookshop offering access to more than 13 million titles.

·        Dawson Books is a market leading supplier of print and digital content including shelf-ready, metadata and workflow services to Universities in the UK and internationally.

·        Erasmus and Houtschild are specialist suppliers and curators of high quality print books and journals servicing academic and corporate libraries internationally, with extensive expertise in sourcing hard-to-find content. 

·        Bertram Library Services is a key supplier of printed shelf ready books to public libraries in UK, Ireland and internationally.

Connect Book’s UK businesses are supported by a state-of-the-art warehouse operation in Norwich which provides consolidation, library preparation services and distribution, with capacity to also drive other products.

Significant potential for the AURELIUS operating model

In the coming months, AURELIUS operational task force experts will support Connect Books management in executing a carve-out from Connect Group, ensuring minimal distraction from the company’s day-to-day business. Following acquisition, AURELIUS will also work with the team to implement its planned growth strategy across its full brand range, with a focus on expanding the business’ international footprint, service offering, marketing capabilities and e-commerce platform.

Dirk Markus, CEO of Aurelius, commented: “We are very pleased to announce our acquisition of Connect Books, an established, global business and one of the market leaders in its sector. This acquisition is a further demonstration of AURELIUS’ position as a preferred partner for corporates seeking a complex carve-out of a non-core business and we very much look forward to working with Connect Book’s existing management to support the business in its next stage of growth.

Justin Adams, Managing Director of Connect Books, commented: “Since the decision by Connect Group to focus on becoming a specialist logistics business, we have been exploring various ownership options. In Aurelius I believe we have found an owner that has the financial and operational capabilities to help us on our journey to build the best one stop shop for content and support us in the ongoing shift towards becoming a more customer-centric, agile solutions provider for our customers and suppliers. In the immediate term it remains business as usual as we complete our peak trading season and gear up for the new calendar year.”