Berlin-based logistics company Zeitfracht has agreed to acquire Germany's largest book wholesaler and distributor, Koch, Neff and Volckmar, (KNV Group), which filed for bankruptcy protection in February, reports The Borsenblatt. The deal still needs to be reviewed and approved by the banks; creditors have already approved the purchase.
The news should offer relief to Germany publishers and retailers who have experienced business disruptions stemming from the bankruptcy, including lost revenue. When working efficiently, Germany's distribution system is considered extremely reliable, generally offering overnight delivery to retailers, something that together with fixed book price laws has enabled booksellers to remain competitive with online retailers, such as Amazon.
Zeitfracht specializes in logistics for airline and sea cargo and those involved in the deal said they opportunities for "synergies" to develop between the two companies. KNV employs 1,600 people, spread across three locations; Zeitfacht has a similar number of employees, spread across various locations and industries.
"We welcome the fact that the insolvency administrator has quickly found a new owner for KNV," said Alexander Skipis, CEO of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the German publishing and bookselling trade association, in a statement. "This creates a perspective for book logistics and provides planning security for publishers and bookstores. The fact that Zeitfracht wants to take over the KNV Group as a whole and intends to continue the business in the long term is an important factor in this regard."