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Germany’s largest wholesaler files for bankruptcy

Germany’s largest book wholesaler and distributor, KNV, has filed for bankruptcy, reports Publishers Weekly.

On Thursday, 14 February, the managing directors of companies within the KNV Group filed for bankruptcy, after negotiations with an investor broke down last week. With the collapse of the investment deal, the bank was unwilling to continue financing the company and the company directors were obliged to file for bankruptcy.

In a statement the following day, the company said that seven companies within KNV are urgently attempting a reorganisation, with legal administrator Tobias Wahl requesting that customers continue to support the company with orders. Publishing Perspectives reports that KNV says wages and salaries will be paid through April.

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association said in a statement: ‘The news of the insolvency of the KNV group has shaken us all in the industry. In the case of publishers, bookstores, and other business partners, there’s great uncertainty about how things will continue. We are in contact with KNV and are exploring the situation. We will do our utmost to advise our members comprehensively and to minimise possible effects, especially for smaller companies, together with those involved.’

Association chair Heinrich Riethmüller has responded to the news by emphasising that the insolvency reflects the company’s management, not the broader book business. ‘The reasons for the bankruptcy are certainly complex, but they are not in the book market itself. The time ahead can be strained economically, but now, above all, it’s important to stay calm and prudent,’ he said.

KNV stocks around 590,000 titles across a range of products including books, ebooks, games, DVDs, music CDs, calendars, and other products. It works with around 5000 publishers and around 5600 retailers, including 4200 German bookshops, 800 bookshops in Austria and Switzerland, and around 600 shops in other markets.

 

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Category: International news