Surprise Bookstore Chain Merger in Germany

The German book market was "shaken up by a surprise merger between two major bookselling companies" yesterday, the Bookseller reported. Thalia and Mayersche will join forces in a deal that needs to be approved by the competition authorities. The new partnership consists of approximately 300 Thalia and 55 Mayersche branches.

In 2016, U.S. private equity investor Advent International sold Thalia to a consortium of consisting of the Herder and Kreke families as well as Leif Göritz and CEO Michael Busch. The current group of partners will be joined by the Falter family, which has owned Mayersche since 1950. In addition, CEO Hartmut Falter will join Busch as second managing partner and also become a member of Thalia's executive board. He will also retain responsibility for the Mayersche-owned Best of Books, a leading provider of books for ancillary retailers.

In a joint statement, Busch and Falter said the changing environment in book retailing requires "future-oriented concepts and alliances." Thalia and Mayersche will be merging "into an innovative and strong bookseller that will not only be the major player in the German market, but the most successful multichannel bookseller by international comparison."

Michael Busch commented: "We are banking on stable alliances and partnerships because as booksellers we are more successful when working together."

The new corporate structure "stipulates that both companies will continue operating under their established names with the aim of bringing the consumer 'a new level of quality,' " the Bookseller wrote, adding: "Apart from further strengthening its brick-and-mortar presence, a core project will be online expansion to make the company even more competitive internationally."

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