Storytel acquires competitor Kitab Sawti to create world’s largest Arabic audiobook offering

Featured image: Jonas Tellander, CEO & founder of Storytel; Source: supplied


Storytel, one of the largest audiobook and e-book streaming service globally has reportedly acquired Kitab Sawti, Dubai-based Arabic audio content production and distribution platform. The amount of the acquisition has not been disclosed yet. The amount has been paid partly in cash and partly by issuing shares to Kitab Sawti in Storytel AB (publ). The transaction is expected to close on 10 July 2020.

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The company in a statement today affirmed that the combined line-up of Storytel Arabia and Kitwab Sawti forms a unique offering of audio content production and distribution that will offer consumers the access to the largest Arabic audiobook library in the world.

Commenting on the development, Jonas Tellander, CEO & founder of Storytel said,

“I am really thrilled and excited about the great opportunities that the combination of Storytel and Kitab Sawti will offer Arabic consumers, publishers and authorships. Online media consumption is booming in the Middle East, as is the confidence local consumers are showing in digital products and payment solutions. The positive trend in customer interest for audiobooks that we presently see in the region, clearly indicates the big potential. And this potential is also reflected in the leading combined skills and experiences of Storytel’s and Kitab Sawti’s amazing local Arabic teams,”

Founded in 2016 by Swedish entrepreneurs Sebastian Bond and Anton Pollak, Kitab Sawti, the leading audiobook producer and streaming services for Arabic content is currently running a network of studios across the Arabic region and organising over 100 narrators. Over time, the has built a significance for itself as a provider of quality audiobooks and cultural experiences in the Arabic speaking world – making it an arch competitor to Storytel Arabia, that commenced its operation in 2017.

Last month, Kitab Sawti announced a partnership with Careem KSA – giving Careem’s riders the ability to exchange points for subscriptions on the Kitab Sawti app. The company has reported an annual sales growth of 79 percent in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year. Kitab Sawti app offers an inventory of over 2,500 audiobook titles from over 80 percent of the regional best-sellers including Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Al Sanousi, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and many more.

Following the acquisition deal, the combined audiobook catalogue of Storytel Arabia and Kitab Sawti will come as 5,000+ audiobooks in Arabic language – making it the biggest Arabic audiobook library in the world.

Storytel is the #1 streaming service for audiobooks and e-books in Northern Europe with over 1.2 million paying subscribers and operations on 20 markets. Storytel also disposes over a vast library of more than 500,000 audiobook and e-book titles on a global scale.

Sebastian Bond, the CEO & co-founder of Kitab Sawti, affirming his confidence in Storytel said,

“We are really proud of what Kitab Sawti and our amazing team has achieved with our businesses in the Arabic region. I am confident that Storytel, with its technical capabilities, entrepreneurial spirit and multi-market experience, will be an excellent owner and develop these businesses further. I am also eager to experience the potential that will be unleashed as we continue to fuel the passion of the consumers and the unique qualities of the Arabic authorships, publishers and cultural life,”

By acquiring Kitab Sawti, Storytel will be able to tap into a bigger geography, and as a part of the deal, Sebastian Bond will lead Storytel MENA that includes operations for Storytel Arabia and Kitab Sawti.

Pradeep Singh
Pradeep Singh

Former interim CTO at LAFFAZ. A full-stack developer, possessing 6+ years of experience in working closely with tech startups in India and UAE.

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