Bertrams, the U.K.'s largest book wholesaler, and Cypher, its biggest public library supplier, have been combined in a deal worth about £54 million (about $90 million), according to a report in the Financial Times.
The deal, concluded by an investment firm, Mercury Asset Management Private Equity, means that Mercury in effect bought family-owned Bertrams, and will inject it into the new business, to be called Bertram Group, in return for a controlling stake. Lloyds Development Capital, a backer of Cypher, will also have a stake, and management will own about 30%.
Cypher was formed two years ago from bought-out assets of Blackwell and Johnston Press. Bertrams was established in 1967, and has about a 25% share of the book wholesaling market in the country.
Raymond Gray, former managing director of Cypher, who will head the new group, said the company would seek to develop better online systems to improve book ordering. It also means the new Bertrams will carry a considerably larger number of titles. The new group will have an annual turnover of about £100 million (about $165 million).