Distican, the exclusive distributor for Simon & Schuster in Canada, will be acquired by S&S in a deal expected to close before the end of the year. The sale follows the decision by Distican chairman and CEO Susan Stoddard to retire.

Distican has been handling the sales and marketing of S&S products, as well as those of its distribution clients, since 1994. Following completion of the sale, Distican will be renamed Simon & Schuster Canada. Deb Wood, currently president of Distican, will become president of S&S Canada and will report to S&S CEO Jack Romanos. Although S&S has sold its products through Distican for years, Romanos said he was "irked" by the perception that S&S did not have a major presence in Canada. With the acquisition, "Simon & Schuster Canada will rightfully assume its place as a Canadian company," Romanos told PW.

Unlike some publishers' Canadian subsidiaries, however, S&S Canada does not do any original publishing, and there are no plans to start an indigenous program. Starting an original publishing operation "is outside the scope of the agreement," an S&S spokesperson said. Under the Canadian government's approval of the acquisition, S&S Canada's activities will be limited to those currently conducted by Distican.

Romanos said there will be no significant changes in S&S Canada's operations. The unit, based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, has an 88-person staff including 15 sales reps. According to Romanos, the acquisition will strengthen the ties between S&S and S&S Canada, and S&S Canada will be in a better position to leverage the operating systems of the parent company. "This could be the easiest transition in publishing history," Romanos said.