Bonnier lays out expansion plans

Bonnier lays out expansion plans

Bonnier Books c.e.o. Jacob Dalborg has restated the company’s plans to grow and “grow fast” in English-language regions, but said that it was taking a long-term view of the market.

Speaking at The Business Club at Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday (19th October) while being interviewed by book trade magazine editors from around the world—including The Bookseller’s Philip Jones— Dalborg said that the Swedish company had harboured ambitions to grow in English-language markets for some time, but was only “suddenly getting recognition” for its success.

Bonnier Publishing c.e.o. Richard Johnson has said his business is the fourth biggest publisher in the UK, ahead of Pan Macmillan. But Dalborg played down the aim to overtake its competitors, stating: “In terms of ambition compared to others... I don’t really look at it like that. We want to grow and I think we have got all the skills and the people [to do] so. Now it is about growing even more.”

The former KPMG finance worker said Bonnier’s growth was likely to be organic rather than through acquisitions, although he said: “If opportunity knocks, we wouldn’t say no to acquiring anything.

“We look at it long-term. We want to grow fast but book publishing isn’t always that fast. It will take the time that is needed, but we will get there. We have all of a sudden got the recognition out in the market, which I love, but we have [always] been very focused [on the English- language market].”

Dalborg also intimated that the publisher’s UK business would begin to resemble its Swedish arm. When asked why Bonnier’s operation in the UK is often viewed as more commercial than in Sweden, where it is considered more literary, Dalborg said: “Today we are, but wait a couple of years and see what you see then.”

Following the acquisitions of companies such as Igloo Books and the Totally Entwined Group, the turnover of the UK arm of Bonnier stands at £115m, the publisher reported in February.