In an interview in the May 20 issue of Christian Retailing, Ingram Book Group chairman John Ingram said that if the Federal Trade Commission blocks the proposed acquisition of the wholesaler by Barnes &Noble, Ingram will have to reduce its business and its service to retailers. He told the magazine, "If we don't do this deal -- or something like it -- we will have to shrink our business. If we lose our large customers, it shrinks the services and title breadth the independents say they need. How is this better for independents?"

Ingram commented that the delay in receiving FTC approval was disappointing, but not unexpected. He said he expects a ruling to be made sometime in the second quarter of this year. The FTC has been investigating the merger for more than six months and only recently placed calls to numerous industry executives asking for their views on the potential impact on the industry of a B&N/Ingram merger.