One should not be too surprised if KKR sells RBMedia Verlag and its imprints to Storytel in a few years time. Nor should we rule out KKR striking a deal with Storytel for the whole RBMedia operation, with its substantial catalogue and UK and Australia operations as part of the package.
Ramming home its claim to be the world’s largest audiobook producer, RBMedia kicks off 2022 with news of an acquisition and a new brand as it enters the competitive German-language audio market (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
In acquiring “leading” German audio publisher ABOD, founded in 2012 in Munich, the US-based audiobook outfit owned by KKR, a hedge-fund operation that is no stranger to global publishing, launches its own branded operation, RBMedia Verlag, with ABOD content.
The press release offers little beyond the usual fluff, but for those desperate for some publishing press release niceties after the Christmas and New Year break here’s what Miles Stevens-Hoare, General Manager of RBMedia International, had to say:
We’ve been tracking the German-language digital audiobook market for some time and have seen consistent, sizeable growth. We believe it represents a long-term growth opportunity for us. The marriage of ABOD and RBMedia combines a well-curated successful catalog with our skill and experience in growing audio businesses.
For ABOD, founder and CEO Rudi Singer added:
Since founding ABOD in 2012, I have put much work and care into building a first-rate audio catalog. With RBMedia’s vision, I am confident that we will see these efforts continue to gain momentum. Under good terms, our titles will be widely sold around the German-speaking world and with all key resellers. It’s exciting to see the German market being part of RBmedia’s international growth plan.
ABOD’s audiobooks were previously published under the imprints ABOD and Hörbuch München and are produced in the company’s own sound studios in Munich. Currently ABOD ‘s website says ABOD is an imprint of RBMedia and it may be the ABOD and Hörbuch München will continue as stand-alone imprints.
With 50,000 titles there seems little doubt about RBMedia’s production scale, but its global reach remains token with RBMedia Verlag joining W. F. Howes ( UK) and Wavesound (Australia) on the international scene. That of course could change with KKR’s deep pockets behind it.
RBMedia’s parent company KKR is also the owner of the digital library supplier OverDrive.
Last year KKR sold Audibooks.com, which RBMedia acquired in 2017, to Storytel, and that perhaps paints the long-term picture for RB Media under KKR, as a vehicle to acquire and re-sell lucrative audiobook businesses.
One should not be too surprised if KKR sells RBMedia Verlag and its imprints to Storytel in a few years time.
Nor should we rule out KKR striking a deal with Storytel for the whole RBMedia operation, with its substantial catalogue and UK and Australia operations as part of the package.
Last month RBMedia acquired the self-publishing audiobook platform Audiobook Republic.