In a huge deal that consolidates the publishing industry's wholesaling segment, Follett Corp. has acquired Baker & Taylor for an undisclosed price. According to a release form Follett, the combined company will have sales of $3.6 billion and will offer “librarians, patrons, educators and students unprecedented access to the best curated physical and digital content wherever learning and reading take place in the community.”

Follett, with annual revenue of $2.6 billion, is a provider of technology, services and print and digital content to PreK-12 libraries, schools and higher education institutions and is one of the country’s largest operators of college stores, while B&T has focused on distributing books, video and music products to public libraries and institutions. The purchase includes B&T's Bookmasters unit.

Follett said B&T will remain based in Charlotte, N.C., and will continue to operate as before, serving customers through its existing management team and business operations. George Coe, B&T CEO and president, will continue to head B&T, reporting to Ray Griffith, president and CEO of Follett.

“Acquiring Baker & Taylor marks a major milestone for Follett that expands the possibilities of our two businesses,” said Todd A. Litzsinger, chairman of Follett, in a statement. “Through our support of schools, public libraries, colleges, local bookstores and retailers, our teams are uniquely positioned to help communities everywhere strengthen literacy and learning.

In a note sent to publishers, David Cully, president of retail and executive v-p of merchandising, wrote:

There are no plans to integrate the two companies at this time, which means both will continue to operate as before.

To ensure a seamless transition, the existing partner relationships and processes each company has in place today will largely remain unchanged for now.

If you have relationships with both companies today, expect to receive the same high level of service and attention without disruption going forward.

As in the past and in keeping with our commitment to your business, we will keep you informed of any relevant changes or developments.

Following the announcement, Follett said that Nader Qaimari has been promoted to president of Follett School Solutions, reporting to Coe. Qaimari was named general manager of Follett’s PreK-12 business in October of 2015.