Jonas Bonnier, former c.e.o and president of the Bonnier Group, has signed deals in 18 territories for his novel The Helicopter Heist, based on the events of a Stockholm cash-depot robbery in 2009.
Two Bonnier companies— Bonnier Zaffre (UK) and Albert Bonniers (Sweden)—won rights to the book by the man who ran their parent group between 2008–2014. The Bookseller understands that Salomonsson Agency agent Niclas Salomonsson gave the Swedish list three days to read the manuscript without being aware of the writer’s identity, which it only discovered once its bid was accepted.
Film rights were won by Netflix at auction, with actor Jake Gyllenhaal attached to star and produce with his Nine Stories Productions partner Riva Marker. Meanwhile, the 16 other territories include Canada (S&S), Spain (PRH), Germany (Piper), the Netherlands (The House of Books) and Russia (AST ).
The 2009 robbery made headlines around the world; four young men from the Swedish suburbs stole a helicopter and brazenly landed on the rooftop of the largest cash facility in Sweden. Swedish police had been tipped off, but the robbers still managed to evade them and emerge unscathed.
Salomonsson said the book was “fun, thrilling and utterly captivating”, adding: “Until now, the four robbers have never spoken publicly about what went down before and during the audacious raid. Through meticulous research and countless interviews with them, Jonas has crafted a wildly entertaining roller-coaster ride of a novel, based on a heist that stunned the police and turned four gangsters into heroes.”
Bonnier said: “It is a dream come true to see this incredible story be appreciated by some of the best publishers around the world. I couldn’t be happier.”
The four men involved granted Bonnier permission to adapt their story for publication and cinematic adaptation.