July 11, 2016 / 10:26 AM / 2 years ago

Advent sells book retailer Thalia to German publishers family

FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) - U.S. buyout firm Advent has sold its stake in German book retailer Thalia to a family of publishers, who vowed to pursue restructuring the retailer has adopted in recent years amid rising pressure from online competitors.

The German Herder family acquired a majority stake in Thalia, which has 280 stores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, making it the biggest book retailer in German-speaking Europe.

The parties announced the deal in a statement on Monday but did not disclose financial details. People familiar with the matter estimated that the transaction was in the lower three-digit million euro range.

The Herder family runs a long-standing German publishing house of the same name, focusing mainly on religious and spiritual content.

Advent had purchased Thalia from perfume and cosmetics retailer Douglas in 2012 and subsequently restructured the business to face up to competition from online retailers such as Amazon.

“Thalia is back on solid economic footing and is growing on its own,” Advent managing partner Ranjan Sen said in the statement.

Thalia had closed 20 stores and in recent years focused on its own e-book, the Tolino, to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. The retailer planned to link its store and online business further, its Chief Executive Michael Busch said.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter for our company,” Thalia’s Busch said. “We are gaining an entrepreneurial, long-term oriented owner structure.” (Reporting by Tina Bellon; editing by David Clarke)

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