Swedish Bonnier Books buys founders Jonas Forsang (41) and Magnus Rønningen (42) – and now owns 95 percent of the Norwegian publisher, the two of which started with Peter Stordalen.
On Tuesday morning, Bonnier employees were informed that publisher Jonas Forsang and Magnus Rønningen would be purchased by the publisher.
“Bonnier buys the remaining shares in Bonnier Norsk Forlag from founders Jonas Forsang and Magnus Rønningen. At the same time, co-founder Jörn Lehrhorst increases his ownership and commitment,” Bonnier wrote in a press release.
Now only Jørn Lehr Horst is left of the four founders who started what is now Strawberry Publishing – which is now the Norwegian Bonaire Publishing. He raises his ownership to 5 percent and joins the board of directors. Bonnier Books owns the remaining 95 percent.
Neither Bonnier nor the founders want to comment on the purchase price, but according to VG’s experience, Magnus Rønningen and Jonas Forsang should now have earned close to NOK 100 million each from the total sale – if also counted. Selling the Swedish and Danish parts by Strawberry Publishing.
– I don’t want to comment on the amounts, but we made money on this, just showing it works! Everyone said it was impossible to make money in the book industry, so we hope this inspires others who are considering starting something similar, Jonas Forsang tells VG.
He assures that making money came unexpectedly.
Money has never been a motive. We started this one because we thought it was fun. I wrote, Magnus worked in PR – and then we thought that perhaps making a book was something to match our skills. But then things turned out differently than we had imagined.
Our plan was actually to ride this horse until sunset sometime after retirement age. But when it first became what it was, we’re thrilled that Bonnier is taking the baton even further, says Forsang.
It all started with Pilar – a small publishing house Forsang and Rønningen started together to publish Synnøve Skarbø’s cleaning books. In 2017, they had to publish Gunhild Stordalen’s autobiography, but when it was put on hold, the publisher had four employees who had no private income and had to go looking for money.
It’s part of the story that before Petter Stordalen signed an agreement with the two over a napkin during a better dinner at Fyr Bistronomi, Jonas and Magnus received none of Aschehoug, Gyldendal, Kagge, and Cappelen Damm.
A few months later, in February 2018, it was like that New Publisher Reality – And with them they had not only Peter Stordalen, but also the bestselling author Jörn Lehr Horst.
background: Remember the beginning of the book Solstice?
Now, four years later, the founders – including Peter Stordalen – according to VG experiences earned a total of about 420 million crowns in the publishing adventure.
In the spring of 2020, Strawberry Publishing sold the Danish and Swedish part of the Bonnier Publishing Group. Then Bought Bonnier at Strawberry At the end of 2020 – and beyond A little mikkmakk with the power of competitionso Bonnier eventually sold out Cappelen Damm – Did they? The main owner of 70 percent of the shares. In November 2021 they bought the whole Peter Stordalen and its price went up to 83%.
According to Forsang, the plan was never to sell. But in 2020, the pandemic changed everything.
If it wasn’t for the Corona pandemic, we wouldn’t have sold. It was he who made us need the capital and resulted in Peter Stordalen ending up in the position he was in in the spring of 2020 after the first shutdown, says Jonas.
While Stordalen comments the following via email:
– We never did this for money, and then we got into other industries. At the same time, it is good for innovation and a competitive basis in the book industry that it is possible to demonstrate making money also from literature, says Peter Stordalen.
Stordalen and Forsang VG both tell there are already new plans:
Now we take everything we learned in the publishing industry with us and see if there are other industries that need revamping, since we already have some in perspective, says Stordalen.
Farsang thinks it is sad that he has given up his career in publishing.
– It was the coolest thing I’ve done in my career. It was simply amazing fun. The best thing about it all is the relationships with the authors and staff – and the trust they have given us.
– I’m pround of it. We fought for the authors. Not only do we have, because I would say we were helping turn the balance of power on its head a little bit. It turns out that there is a need in the book industry for someone to come and think differently. When we realized this, we decided to give the old publishers a good run for their money, says Jonas Forsang.
Erling Kage sells his life’s work: – There was a lot of pressure
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”