// Waterstones has acquired academic bookseller Blackwell’s in a deal understood to be in the “low single-digit millions”
// Blackwell’s will continue to trade under its own name and comes after Waterstones’ acquisiton of Foyles in 2018
Waterstones has snapped up Blackwell’s, the UK’s largest independent bookseller.
The sale of the 18-store academic bookseller ends 143 years of family ownership for Blackwell’s, which will continue to trade under its own name.
Blackwell’s is the latest acquisition for Waterstones, which also bought Foyles in September 2018. It brings Blackwell’s into the same group as the US’ largest bookseller Barnes & Noble, which like Waterstones is owned by US hedge fund Elliott Investment Management.
Waterstones is understood to have paid a figure in the “low single-digit millions”, according to the Financial Times.
Waterstones managing director James Daunt said: “Blackwell’s and Heffers are amongst the most illustrious names in bookselling, a legacy for which we have the utmost respect.
“We greatly look forward to working alongside the booksellers at Blackwell’s as we secure the future of these wonderful bookshops and preserve academic bookselling in so many towns and campuses across the UK.”
Blackwell’s outgoing owner and president Toby Blackwell said that finding a buyer had been “an extraordinary challenge”, however, he was heartened by Waterstones’ management of Foyles.
“Waterstones has demonstrated in its acquisition of Foyles most recently, that they understand the advantages and benefits of holding diverse iconic bookselling brands in their portfolio,” he said.
“I view them not just as a buyer of the business, but as the right buyer at the right time. This is a positive outcome for Waterstones, Blackwell’s and all our customers in the UK and abroad, who will still be able to enjoy the individual nature of what both brands offer. I wish everyone well with this new chapter.”
Blackwell’s chief executive David Prescot added that Waterstones had said it would invest in Blackwell’s people, staff and growing ecommerce operation.