Anobii, <a href=Sainsbury‘s” height=”318″ src=”” width=”500″ />

British retailer J Sainsbury’s has acquired Hmv Group’s shareholding in Anobii, a social network and online retailer of e-books.

Sainsbury’s said the acquisition and its investment in the future development of the business will result in it having a 64% stake in Anobii.

The investment in Anobii, which has over 600,000 users worldwide and a library of 60,000 e-books, is a further step in the retail chain’s strategy to deliver digital services to support the growth of its online channel.

The UK-based retailer joins Anobii’s existing shareholders HarperCollins, Penguin and Random House Group (UK), with the aim to invest in and develop the business in the UK and overseas.

Sainsbury’s digital entertainment head Mark Bennett said that Anobii’s innovative use of social media is a clear differentiator.

"This acquisition is a valuable addition to our digital portfolio and shows our commitment to becoming a key player in the digital entertainment market," Bennett added.

"It further demonstrates how we are constantly looking to innovate and seize opportunities that will support the future growth of our business.

"We’re excited about working together with the Anobii team and our fellow shareholders in supporting Anobii to become a leading retailer of e-books."

Prior to this acquisition, the company has launched its music download service earlier this year, acquired online entertainment firm Global Media Vault in October 2011, and launched Sainsbury’s Entertainment in November 2010.

The e-books platform has received investment from HarperCollins, HMV, Penguin and Random House to build a social retail site for e-books, in 2010.

GP Bullhound, a technology investment bank, has acted as the sole financial advisor to HMV on the transaction.

Image: Sainsbury’s investment in Anobii is a further step in the retailer’s strategy to deliver digital services to support the growth of its online channel. Photo: J Sainsbury plc