Livingbridge acquires recommerce platform World of Books

02 August 2021 3 min. read
More news on

World of Books Group has secured a major investment from private equity firm Livingbridge. OC&C Strategy Consultants advised Livingbridge on its backing of the second-hand book ecommerce platform.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in the UK, World of Books (Wob) is a re-commerce business operating within the books sector, committed to acting as a force for good through the promotion of used goods; championing literacy and taking action to reduce carbon emissions. It is led by CEO Graham Bell, the innovative platform expects to generate revenues of over £100 million in 2021 – a 30% year-on-year increase.

Headquartered in Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, Wob’s experienced leadership team has developed a highly scalable and sustainable platform to support future growth. As a certified B-Corp, it sources its books via well-established charitable partnerships – including the British Heart Foundation – and directly from consumers through the Ziffit app, and then sells them through its own website as well as via Amazon, eBay and other specialist marketplaces.

Livingbridge acquires recommerce platform World of Books

Livingbridge is a mid-market private equity firm of over 80 people in the UK, the US and Australia. Livingbridge has been steadily investing in UK businesses in recent years. Backing fast growing companies with investments between £2 million and £70 million, recent years have seen the company purchasing shares of a number of professional services firms including Catalyst, and Vendigital.

The investment, made through the £1.2bn Livingbridge 7 fund, will see Livingbridge leverage its heritage in supporting mission-led businesses, in order to support Wob’s vision to become a global leader in re-commerce – protecting the planet and supporting its charities. The private equity firm also has a longstanding track record of backing multifaceted sourcing and selling businesses which are able to dominate their vertical, including Sykes Holiday Cottages, Superbikes, loveholidays and Direct Ferries.

Graham Bell, CEO at World of Books, commented, “We’re thrilled to have Livingbridge as our partner. They have shown huge passion for our business model, and align with our belief that businesses play a critical role in creating a positive impact. They have a track record of supporting growing companies and we are excited to work with them to maximise our potential. Together we will continue to provide brilliant service to our customers, our charity partners, our planet and the other communities we serve.”

Looking ahead, Wob will use its new backing to power a global growth strategy, which will focus on expanding its repeat customer base, growing both its direct sourcing and selling mix. It will also continue to drive greater efficiency through automation and use of technology. Meanwhile, Livingbridge will look to capitalise on its regional offices in the US and Australia to drive Wob’s geographic expansion into these and other markets.

Susie Stanford at Livingbridge, said, “As the largest reseller and recycler of books in the UK, the business has already supported many UK Charities and literacy causes, as well as allowing millions of book readers to discover great quality used books. We are excited to bring our ecommerce and Internationalisation experience to the business, and proud to stand behind its B-Corp status in its mission to protect the planet and support Charities by encouraging people to reuse.”

The deal sees private equity firm Bridges Fund Management – which has backed Wob over the last 5 years – become a minority shareholder. Livingbridge was advised in its becoming majority shareholder by OC&C Strategy Consultants. OC&C’s Alex Birch and Matt Coode provided due diligence support to the investor, providing an in depth analysis of the dynamics of the second-hand books market in UK, US and Australia.