Storytel AB withdraws merger notification regarding its acquisition of a 70% share in Forlagið


The Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA) has recently had under investigation Storytel AB's proposed acquisition of 70% of Forlagið’s share capital, but the merging parties notified the merger in accordance with Icelandic competition law.

During the investigation, ICA obtained information from the merging parties, as well as other stakeholders active in the relevant markets. ICA received comments from various market participants, competitors, and writers, many of whom expressed concerns about the merger and its impact on competition in the relevant markets.

On 27 November 2020, ICA published a Statement of Objections to the merging parties, describing the preliminary view of the authority that the merger would distort competition in markets for books in Icelandic, particularly for publication of printed books and audio books as well as sales of audio books to consumers. ICA considered that intervention might be necessary. The merging parties were given the utmost opportunity to object, present further observations and suggest remedies.

On 21 December 2020, ICA received a letter from the merging parties stating that the merger notification had been withdrawn. Therefore, there is no need for the Authority to adopt a formal decision regarding the merger. The case is considered closed.

ICA will subsequently examine whether there is a reason to compile and publish selected insights and information regarding the markets for books in Icelandic obtained during the investigation.

Background information

Storytel is an audiobook and e-book streaming and publishing company. Storytel’s streaming business is operated under the brands Storytel and Mofibo. Storytel’s publishing business area is carried out through the audiobook publisher StorySide and Nordic publishing houses such as Norstedts, People’s Press and Gummerus. Storytel operates in over 20 markets worldwide and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Forlagið is an Icelandic publishing house. It is the largest publisher of books in Icelandic, and publishes printed books, audio books and e-books. Forlagið also sells books directly to consumers via its online store and one retail store in Reykjavík.

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