The Bonnier Group is a family-owned international media group based in Sweden. It comprises approximately 175 companies and operates in more than 20 countries. The group´s structure is characterized by decentralization, with leadership responsibilies delegated with everyday operations as much as possible. Operations cover most media formats and are divided into five business areas: Books, Magazine Group, Business Press, Newspapers, and Broadcasting & Entertainment.
By swapping its educational publishing business against Finnish Sonoma/WSOY’s trade division, Bonnier is now the leading publisher of fiction in Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
Bonnier Books includes publishers and book clubs in several countries. Bonnierförlagen (Sweden) includes Albert Bonniers Förlag, Wahlström & Widstrand, and others. Other holdings include: Semic International (Sweden); Tammi and WSOY (Finland); and Cappelen Damm (Norway). The British book publisher Bonnier Publishing has subsidiaries in France, Australia, and the US. Bonnier also owns Adlibris, the largest online book retailer in the Nordic region.
Through Bonnier Media, Bonnier is the leading publisher of children’s books in Germany, where it also has an extensive fiction list.
Key company developments in 2011 & 1st half year 2012
“For Bonnier, 2011 was a year of big investments in restructuring and adapting to a digital environment, as well as investments in positioning and content within the Broadcasting business area,” according to CEO Jonas Bonnier.
While revenues overall as well as in the book divisions were largely unchanged from 2010, the Bonnier group encountered a significant decline in profits in 2011, with corporate EBITA down by 22% (excluding re-structuring costs), and EBITA in the book division down by 10%. The Operating EBITA of 648 million SEK reflects a decrease, but was the company's all-time second best for books.
The corporate Operating EBITA margin decreased from 8.1% to 6.4%, before restructuring and transformation costs and other non-recurring and extraordinary items, which affect comparability.
These developments were attributed to a globally declining advertising business, as well as significant digital investments at all levels and divisions of the group.
Ownership, mergers & acquisition, internal organization:
In 2011, swapped its educational publishing, Bonnier Utbildning, against Finnish/WSOY’s trade publishing, becoming thereby the largest publisher of trade fiction in Scandinavia.
In Germany, where Bonnier has several trade imprints (notably Ullstein, Piper, Carlsen), revenues of nearly 1.7 billlion SEK were recorded in 2011, against 1.8 billion SEK in 2010. This negative growth is attributed to Carlsen, the children’s imprint, which had sales of 53.6 million EUR in 2011 (-11,3 % against 2010, and down from an all time high of 82.6 million EUR in 2009).
In spring 2012, Bonnier acquired the German Berlin Verlag from British Bloomesbury.
Also in spring 2012, Bonnier announced plans to expand to India.
In summer 2011, Bonnier’s online book selling platform Adlibris appointed a new CEO, Magnus Dimert, who had held position from 2002 to 2008 before heading Bonnierförlagen’s consumer and logistic’s division.
Adlibris also launched its own e-reader, the Letto.
Bestselling authors & titles:
The Nobel prize for literature in 2011 went to the popular Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.
Key points for analysis & conclusions:
By investing into digital, consolidating its trade book offerings in Scandinavia (and abandoning its educational arm), and by reaching out through its UK holdings into emerging markets such as India, Bonnier promises to focus on the “long term” (Jonas Bonnier in the Annual Review 2011). It remaims to be seen whether these initiatives will strike a nerve and produce desired results.
In late 2009, Bonnier acquired Weldon Owen, a Florida-based publisher that specializes in illustrated non-fiction books.
In 2008, Jonas Bonnier was appointed as the new CEO of Bonnier AB. Before his appointment, he ran the Bonnier magazine division.
In 2008, Bonnier books acquired the UK children’s book publisher Templar, with yearly revenues of 17 million GBP.
In Germany, with imprints such as Piper, Ullstein, Ars Editzion, and Carlsen (publisher of Harry Potter in Germany), Bonnier books had sales of 174.2 million Euro2008. In 2007, when the last Harry Potter was released, sales were 214,5 million EUR.
Note: Figures are based on sales generated in calendar 2011 or—for corporations with a fiscal year—from fiscal 2011. Data are from publicly available sources and include sales of books, journals, and digital products. Because publishing data were unavailable, Pannini and Disney/Hyperion are excluded from the rankings. The listing and publisher profiles were compiled by international publishing consultant Rudiger Wischenbart under the aegis of Livres Hebdo.