A major stake in German book chain Thalia has been sold to the German Herder family, which runs a longstanding publishing house of the same name.
Rumours that the US-based Advent International’s stake in Thalia was up for sale have been around for several years, resurfacing most recently last November.
The sale price has not been disclosed, but Reuters estimated the stake sold for over €100m.
The Herder family runs a religious and spiritual publisher. Thalia has 280 stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, making it the largest retailer in German-speaking Europe.
Minority stakes in the retailer are owned by the Kreke family, and “managing partners” digital entrepreneur Leif Göritz and Thalia c.e.o Michael Busch.
The Herder family said it will continue to restructure the retailer began by Advent, in the face of rising pressure from online competitors.
Following the deal, Advent managing partner Ranjan Sen said: “Thalia is back on solid economic footing and is growing on its own.”
Busch added: “This is the beginning of a new chapter for our company. We are gaining an entrepreneurial, long-term oriented owner structure."
Thalia also has its own e-reader called Tolino, an open ecosystem, which it owns along with book chains Hugendubel and Weltbild together with Bertelsmann’s (soon-to-be defunct) Der Club and Deutsche Telekom as technical partner.
The e-reader has become a significant player in the German-speaking e-book market and established itself as a serious contender to Amazon. According to GfK, nearly every second e-book sold in Germany is now bought at a Tolino partner bookstore.