E-books by Sainsbury's sells Anobii brand

E-books by Sainsbury's sells Anobii brand

E-books by Sainsbury’s has sold the brand and social networking elements of e-book site Anobii to Italian publisher Mondadori for an undisclosed sum.

The supermarket bought a 64% majority stake in Anobii in June 2012 for just £1 from the HMV Group, with HarperCollins and Penguin Random House retaining their minority stakes in the platform.
The company then changed the name of the e-commerce part of the website to E-books by Sainsbury’s, having the international social network part of Anobii as a subsidiary.

The Anobii board, of which PRH and HarperCollins are minority investors, agreed to sell the overseas interests of Anobii – including its brand and social networking elements – to Italy’s largest publishing group Mondadori today (11th March).

E-books by Sainsbury’s said the asset sale would enable the company to focus “exclusively on its core business” of developing and growing its online retailing activities and e-commerce platform in the UK.

Anobii.com has a million regular users, 300,000 of whom reside in Italy, and remains a popular community-centric website designed to help its international network of booklovers find and share books.

Tim Lennox, managing director at E-books by Sainsbury’s, said: “We have some ambitious and exciting plans for eBooks by Sainsbury’s and this deal will allow us to concentrate our energies on driving growth in this digital UK market. Although anobii.com has successfully established itself as a truly international social network for bookworms, over the years the website has become increasingly popular among Italians, so it made perfect sense that a company like Mondadori took ownership of the website and brand.”

Following the sale, Mondadori chief executive Ernesto Mauri said that a platform for listening to readers was “fundamental for growth in digital for books and for the creation of a publishing house for the future.” He added that the acquisition  “reinforces our development strategy for books that perfectly represents its main focus of putting the reader at the centre.”

The publisher said it planned to grow the community and would retain Anobii staff to help it do that.

“Investments for a new phase have already been planned that will, in the short term, allow Anobii to achieve much improved technological standards and provide the necessary resources for the development of new functions to serve the users,” the publisher said.