It isn't the deal buzzed about last December, in which Ingram Content Group was rumored to be considering a bid for Baker & Taylor, but Baker & Taylor has done a transaction with another Ingram company. B&T, it was announced Monday, has sold certain assets of its entertainment retail business to Ingram Entertainment, a company not affiliated with ICG.
In a note to booksellers, B&T said the deal "has no impact [bold is from B&T] on our bookselling operations." The note added that B&T's "commitment to providing booksellers with the best in physical books and audiobooks remains the same."
According to a release from Ingram Entertainment, the deal involves taking over the distribution of entertainment products, such and video and audio music, to former B&T retail customers.
David Ingram, chairman of Ingram Entertainment, said structural changes in the physical home entertainment marketplace led to the B&T deal. “Acquiring these entertainment assets of Baker & Taylor will enhance our financial performance by enabling us to process more units through our existing facilities throughout the country," Ingram said in a statement. "Those efficiencies will better position us to work with our suppliers to provide our retailers--including former Baker & Taylor retail entertainment customers--with the products they need for the success of their businesses."
B&T president David Cully said the sale of the entertainment assets will allow the company to better focus its business around its "distribution services to our retail, public library and publisher service customers everywhere.”
The B&T and Ingram Entertainment deal has no connection to the December reports that the FTC had been talking to publishers and booksellers as part of a preliminary inquiry about the Ingram Content Group buying the retail wholesaling arm of B&T. Both companies had no comment on the reports at the time, but a source says the FTC investigation was set to wrap up at the end of January before the government was shut down. This source says that the sale of the retail entertainment assets shows that B&T parent company, Follett Corp., would prefer to not be in the retail side of the wholesaling and distribution business and that a sale of B&T's bookstore arm to Ingram Content Group is still possible.