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Waterstones buys Blackwell’s

Waterstones announced in a press release of 28 February 2022 that funds advised by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited (“Elliott”) have acquired Blackwell’s, an iconic academic and specialist bookseller in the UK. This follows the acquisition of the Foyles bookshops in September 2018.

James Daunt, Waterstones’ Managing Director, 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.”

Toby Blackwell, Blackwell’s outgoing owner and President, said: “After 143 years of family ownership, finding a new home for our business and our wonderful booksellers, has been an extraordinary challenge. Waterstones have demonstrated in their acquisition of Foyles most recently, that they understand the advantages and benefits of holding diverse iconic bookselling brands in their portfolio. 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 would like to thank our Chairman and Board and all of our fantastic staff, past and present, for everything they’ve done to uphold the Blackwell’s name over the years. I wish everyone well with this new chapter.”

David Prescott, Blackwell’s CEO, said: “Blackwell’s is cherished by its customers for its brilliant booksellers and the unique position it holds in the Bookselling landscape. Waterstones’ acquisition will ensure that the future of Blackwell’s and its booksellers is secure. Waterstones have outlined their commitment to invest in our people, our shops and in our growing eCommerce operation. Their acquisition will ensure that Blackwell’s remains part of the Bookselling landscape for the long term.”

Paul Best, Senior Managing Director and Head of European Private Equity at Elliott, Waterstones’ controlling shareholder said: “Waterstones’ acquisition of Blackwell’s follows our successful investments in Waterstones and Foyles in the UK and Barnes & Noble and Paper Source in the U.S.”

See also Waterstones buys Blackwell’s for undisclosed sum by Ruth Comerford (The Bookseller 28 February 2022) and Waterstones acquires Blackwell’s, the UK’s biggest independent bookseller by Jem Bartholomew (The Guardian 28 February 2022).