Baker & Taylor (B&T) and Ingram Content Group have both described reports that Ingram has taken steps on offering to buy the retail wholesaling operation of B&T as "speculation", prompting an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC is believed to have launched a “very preliminary investigation” of the proposed bid from Ingram a month ago, according to Publishers Weekly (PW). Books service provider Ingram is headquartered in Tennessee while books and entertainment distributor B&T is based in North Carolina.
The FTC has contacted Amazon, a group of independent booksellers and major publishers, as part of a “fact-finding mission" on the possible transaction, it was reported by Shelf Awareness on Tuesday (4th December). If the deal takes place, it could consolidate the wholesaling part of the book business, meaning there is just one national US wholesaler servicing both retail and library markets.
It is believed the FTC would approve the deal, Shelf Awareness said.
A B&T spokesman told The Bookseller: "As a private company, we don't comment on rumors and speculation in the marketplace. What I can share is that we are squarely focused on delivering the very best service to all of our customers."
A spokesman for Ingram told PW: “At Ingram, we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers and strengthen our business. As a privately held company we simply do not comment on market speculation.”
The reports come more than two years after B&T was bought by education technology and content provider Follett Corp.
The Bookseller has also contacted the FTC for comment.