Leading supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has today confirmed the acquisition of the controlling stake in online e-book retailer Anobii Limited.
The 64 per cent share in Anobii has been purchased by Sainsbury’s from struggling entertainment retailer HMV, which has been selling many of its assets in the last couple of years to try and bring its business back into profit.
Anobii offers customers, via its site, a choice from over 60,000 e-book titles which are compatible with a range of e-reader, smartphone and tablet devices, and it also encourages its 600,000 worldwide users to rate, review, share and discuss their choices across related social networking sites.
Mark Bennett, Sainsbury’s Head of Digital Entertainment, said: “Anobii’s innovative use of social media is a clear differentiator.
“This acquisition is a valuable addition to our digital portfolio and shows our commitment to becoming a key player in the digital entertainment market.
“It further demonstrates how we are constantly looking to innovate and seize opportunities that will support the future growth of our business.”
Sainsbury’s launched its entertainment division a year and a half ago and supplemented the move with the acquisition of online entertainment company Global Media Vault in November 2011, which led to the launch of its own music download service earlier this year.
Global publishing groups HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House Group are the other existing major shareholders in Anobii, highlighting how highly valued the service is within the book selling business.
Bennett added: “We’re excited about working together with the Anobii team and our fellow shareholders in supporting Anobii to become a leading retailer of e-books.”
Anobii becomes just the latest associated business to HMV to be sold be the beleagured company, following the disposal of the Waterstones book store chain last year.
Earlier this month HMV announced that it had sold the Hammersmith Apollo music venue in West London for £32 million, allowing the retailer to extend its £220 million banking facility to September 2014.