Storytel AB (publ) (“Storytel”), Northern Europe’s leading audiobook and e-book streaming service, is acquiring a 70 percent majority interest in Iceland’s leading book publishing house Forlagið. The majority seller, Mál og menning Literary Society, will remain a 30 percent minority owner in Forlagið, which will operate independently from Storytel Iceland’s streaming operations on the local market. Since previously, Storytel’s publishing business area in the Nordics includes the renowned publishing houses Norstedts Förlagsgrupp (SWE), People’s Press (DEN) and Gummerus Publishers (FIN).
Forlagið is one of the most respected publishing houses in Iceland and the Nordics. Founded in 2007 by Jóhann Páll Valdimarsson, Egill Örn Jóhannsson and Mál og menning, the last of which has been the controlling owner since 2017, Forlagið has become Iceland’s largest publisher and a dynamic and independent force and voice for Icelandic literature and high quality authorships. Today, Forlagið’s publishing operations represent a total yearly production of approximately 150 domestic and translated top titles and a large number of influential and popular Icelandic authors such as Halldór Laxness, Arnaldur Indriðason, Guðrún Helgadóttir, Sjón and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir.
Headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, Forlagið is a strong, driven and inspiring force to be reckoned with.
“We are excited to welcome Forlagið to the Storytel family and our publishing business area, which features renowned and respected Nordic brands like Norstedts Förlagsgrupp, Gummerus Publishers, and People’s Press. It feels fantastic to join forces with the proficient and skilled publishers at Forlagið, who share our passion for great authorships and stories”, says Jonas Tellander, CEO and founder of Storytel.
“Iceland has one of the highest rates of books-per-capita in the world. We are confident that this deal will increase accessibility to great literature for the Icelandic consumers, strengthen the Icelandic voice in the world, and future-proof and amplify both Forlagiðs excellent publishing and Storytel’s long-term commitment to investing in production and distribution of Icelandic literature and storytelling in a digital era”, says Jonas Tellander.
With Storytel AB holding a majority interest, Forlagið will continue to operate independently from Storytel Iceland’s streaming operations on the local market and pursue the company’s work to develop new and existing authorships.
“Forlagið represents a century-long tradition of publishing Iceland´s finest and best authors and literary works. We are now extremely happy to be entering a cooperation with one of the most dynamic and innovative forces in the modern publishing industry. This will open up new markets for the authors of Forlagið and help us take a big step into the future and closer to the modern reader and listener. This deal will surely reinforce and future-proof Forlagið´s business. It will also cement our mission to continue publishing the best of Icelandic literature, to bring this literature to the audience via all means expected, and open new doors for our authors all over the world”, says Egill Örn Jóhannsson, CEO of Forlagið.
“We believe that the winners in this deal will be the Icelandic readers, listeners and authors. Given the developments in international publishing, it is of vital importance to partner with such a strong publisher and distributor that possesses so much intellectual property, digital know-how and tech savvy colleagues. The combination of Storytel and Forlagið is an investment in the future for Icelandic publishing and will reinforce releases of literary gems and assure the development of new authorships. Mál og menning’s initiative to use part of the purchase sum to create a fund to support Icelandic authors and literature further accentuates this. Mál og menning will also use part of the sum to strengthen the Icelandic booktrade”, says Halldór Guðmundsson, Chairman of Mál og menning.
Forlagið had a turnover of approximately EUR 8 million in 2019 and an EBITDA of approximately EUR 460,000. The parties involved have agreed not to disclose the purchase price which will not have a substantial impact on the Storytel Group’s finances. The purchase price will be paid in cash. The closing is subject to approval from the Icelandic Competition Authority.
FNCA Sweden AB is the company’s certified adviser. FNCA can be reached at email@example.com or +46 8 528 00 399.
For more information, please contact:
Dan Panas, Head of Communications, Storytel AB
Tel: +46 70 186 52 90
Stefán Hjörleifsson, Country Manager, Storytel Iceland
Tel: +354 896 1800
Mál og menning
Halldór Guðmundsson, Chairman of Mál og menning
Tel: +354 663 0035
Egill Örn Jóhannsson, CEO of Forlagið.
Tel: +354 575 5600
Storytel is Northern Europe’s leading audiobook and e-book streaming service and offers unlimited listening and reading of more than 500 000 titles on a global scale. Our vision is to make the world a more empathetic place with great stories to be shared and enjoyed by anyone, anywhere and anytime. Storytel is a digital platform provider as well as a comprehensive publishing group. The streaming business area offers subscriptions for audiobooks and e-books under the Storytel and Mofibo brands. Storytel’s publishing business area is carried out through the publishing houses Norstedts, Massolit, StorySide, Printz Publishing, People’s Press, Rabén & Sjögren, B.Wahlströms, Gummerus Kustannus and Norstedts Kartor. Ztory – a subscribed digital read-all-you-can streaming service for newspapers and magazines, is part of Storytel since January 2019. Storytel operates in 20 markets around the globe and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
About Mál og menning
Mál og menning is a literary society that was founded in 1937. It has been an active force in Icelandic publishing since then, and it has published the works of many of Iceland’s best known authors. Mál og menning is the controlling shareholder of Forlagið, Iceland’s largest publishing house.
Forlagið (meaning “the publishing house”) is the largest publishing house in Iceland. The company was created in 2007 when Mál og menning bought the publishing arm of Edda and merged with the publishing house JPV. Mál og menning is the controlling shareholder of Forlagið.