Swedish media giant Bonnier has agreed to acquire Econ/Ullstein/List, one of Germany's most prominent book publishers. Based in Munich, Econ has annual sales of about 60 million euros ($70 million) and 100 employees. The acquisition, which is subject to the approval of the German competition committee, will strengthen Bonnier's presence in the German fiction, nonfiction and paperback segments. Bonnier, which has total book sales of 400 million euros, already owns the German publisher Piper.
The agreement is intended to open the door for Verlagsgruppe Random House to acquire certain assets of Verlagsgruppe Ullstein Heyne List from Axel Springer AG. The Federal Cartel Office in Germany had raised concerns about the proposed purchase and the resulting concentration of such a large portion of the industry in one company. "In our divestiture of Econ Heyne List to Bonnier, we have found a solution to the Cartel Office's concerns," managing director Joerg Pfuhl said in a written statement announcing the agreement with Bonnier. The divestiture means that Random House would retain only the company's Heyne Verlag division.