The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc. and its affiliated company National Book Network have reached an agreement with the administrator overseeing the bankruptcy of U.K. distributor Plymbridge to acquire certain assets of the company. The deal must still be approved by a number of different parties, but Rowman hopes to close the transaction this week.

Plymbridge distributes about 120 independent publishers, including Rowman's publishing division Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. In his letter to Plymbridge clients informing them about the pending deal, Jed Lyons, president of both Rowman and NBN, said his company "did not set out to purchase a distribution company," but that after reviewing various options he believes the purchase will be best for all involved.

Rowman/NBN is putting together a team to go the U.K. to oversee the running of Plymbridge once the deal is concluded. The group will include Irv Myers, NBN executive v-p and chief operating officer, and Jeff Harris, v-p of credit and collection. Lyons said he has been encouraged by the reception he has received from Plymbridge clients about the possible deal, noting that the acquisition is only possible if most clients agree to remain with Plymbridge.

Lyons said it will likely take a few weeks before Rowman/NBN will be able to provide definitive answers to such questions as how the business will be run and the status of clients' contracts. Alan Tomlinson, who is the administrator overseeing Plymbridge's bankruptcy, is expected to be in touch with those owed money by the company on how funds will be disbursed by the "old" Plymbridge.

If the deal is concluded, the addition of Plymbridge will give NBN's U.S. clients the opportunity to have distribution in the U.K. and Europe, a service currently only offered by Publishers Group Worldwide.