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DEAG to acquire majority stake in Lit.Cologne

DEAG Classics, a division of Germany’s DEAG (Deutsche Entertainment AG), has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Lit.Cologne, one of Europe’s largest literary festivals.

With the acquisition of 66.6% of Lit.Cologne GmbH, DEAG is “significantly expanding its activities in the field of ‘literatainment’, bringing the most exciting names in culture and entertainment to audiences in Europe and beyond”, according to a statement from the Berlin-based live entertainment group company.

Following the acquisition, Lit.Cologne co-founder Rainer Osnowski will stay on as a shareholder and managing director and continue to run the company with his team. “Both partners expect synergy effects from the cooperation in the development of new formats, as well as in the acquisition of new venues and in the ticketing business,” adds DEAG, whose owned ticket agencies include MyTicket (DE, AT, UK) and Gigantic (UK).

Founded in Cologne in 2000, Lit.Cologne now welcomes more than 100,000 visitors and annually, and has in recent years launched a number of other events, including Phil.Cologne, a philosophy festival, and Lit.Ruhr, a sister festival in the Ruhr region. In 2021, Lit.cologne was held as a digital festival for the first time, with 54 online events.

“This alliance offers the mutual know-how in the live sector and the passion for first-class live events”

In a joint statement, DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow and DEAG Classics board member Jacqueline Zich say: “We are very pleased with our partnership with Rainer Osnowski and his team, who have built up Europe’s largest literature festival and also know how to inspire their audiences with new formats such as Lit.Ruhr and Phil.Cologne.

“Being able to contribute to the further development of formats, and support the long-term direction of the festivals with our live expertise and our European network, fills us with great joy.”

“The partnership with DEAG Classics in this form, which leaves the festival as such untouched in terms of content and structure, is certainly something of a rarity these days,” adds Osnowski. “On the one hand, this partnership is a further step towards securing the long-term future of the festival alongside the great commitment of our main sponsors and partners. On the other hand, this alliance offers the mutual know-how in the live sector and the passion for first-class live events many opportunities for further joint development.

“I am very pleased about this and look forward to working together.”

Earlier this year, DEAG raised another €6 million to fund acquisitions, and says it recently enlisted the services of a “renowned American investment bank” to identify new opportunities outside its “core markets of Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark”.


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