NIBC advises Novamedia on successful acquisition of ECI book club and webshops

Corporate News -

Client
Novamedia is a marketing and media organisation with a social mission. Its mission is to contribute to a better world. Social and civil organisations are financially supported and assisted in raising awareness for their work. Novamedia owns various brands and charity lottery formats, including the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Currently it operates charity lotteries in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Sweden.

Up to and including 2013, Novamedia's lottery formats have raised a total of EUR 6.1 billion for thousands of charities and social initiatives worldwide. Since 2013, Novamedia's Postcode Lotteries have been the second largest private donor in the world on a yearly basis only after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition, Novamedia has always been active through new and traditional media, and holds a 30% stake in the social gaming platform Gramble.

Case
ECI, also widely known as 'the book club', was founded in 1967 to stimulate reading in the Netherlands. In 2010, ECI changed from being a bookshop that was accessible only to members into a retailer focusing on online sales via webshops eci.nl/eci.be and cosmox.nl/cosmox.be, where everyone can order books, films, music, toys and games. Cosmox won the Publieksprijs Thuiswinkelaward 2013 (Public Prize Home Shopping Award) for webshops with a turnover of up to EUR 5 million in the category Books, Films, Games & Music.

After several years of declining financial performance, ECI filed for bankruptcy in January 2014. Novamedia asked NIBC for advice on the acquisition of parts of ECI.

Solution
In February 2014, Novamedia acquired the commercial activities of ECI out of bankruptcy. Novamedia will take over the ECI book club and webshops eci.nl, eci.be, cosmox.nl and cosmox.be, and will retain approximately 30 of the 200 employees working for ECI via various subsidiaries.
 
NIBC M&A and TMS acted as Novamedia's exclusive financial advisors on this acquisition, which was signed and closed in an accelerated process that was completed in only three weeks.
 
Khalid Bakkali, Head of Technology, Media & Services at NIBC Bank comments: "As a result of our earlier cooperation with Novamedia, we were able to determine in a very short timeframe which activities would be commercially viable to continue, and in which areas Novamedia adds knowledge and capabilities to ECI and vice versa. In addition to financial considerations, the operational aspects of the transaction played a key role in the condensed acquisition process."

The acquisition fits Novamedia's strategy of broadening its activities that contribute to a better world and investing in strong social organisations. ECI stimulates reading in the Netherlands and improves the accessibility of books at a low price. ECI will benefit from Novamedia's expertise in database and subscriber systems, and customer service. Novamedia is confident that it can contribute to once again making ECI a flourishing book club and webshop.

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