Dawson Books has been bought by the parent company of book wholesaler Bertrams for £20m.
Smiths News plc, which owns Bertrams, announced today (7th June) that the wholesaler and Dawson Books would be "fully integrated" following a staff consultation and approval from shareholders and the Office of Fair Trading.
The deal means that Norwich-based Bertrams will soon be able to sell digital books using the DawsonEra platform, meeting Bertrams customers' "increasing demands for digital products".
Dawson Books supplies books and library materials to academic institutions in the UK and internationally and the two businesses are seen as "complementary" to each other. The merger will also "create increased scope and the opportunity for operational efficiencies".
The acquisition is expected to be completed by September 2011.
Ian Hendrie, acting m.d for Bertrams, said: "This represents a significant entry into the e-book market for Bertrams. Publishers will also benefit from a more efficient supply chain and increased exposure for their books.
"Taking on supply to Dawson Books customers gives us the opportunity to broaden our stock range to reflect the needs of this new customer base, benefiting not only these customers, but our existing ones."
Mark Cashmore, Smiths News c.e.o, said the deal will increase the scope of the company's library operations and give Dawson Books customers access to a greater range and improved speed of servicing. He said: "In DawsonEra we have a well-established e-book platform and we will invest to continue to develop its strengths."
He added that once the deal had completed, the company would consult about integrating Bertrams and Dawson staff. He said: "Clearly there is an opportunity to transfer much of the library processing work to the Bertrams operation in Norwich, but any proposals would be subject to confirmation and consultation." Dawson staff will be offered to transfer to Norwich, Swindon or any other Smiths News location. However, those who do not transfer, as well as Dawson Books head office staff, are at risk of redundancy.