Japanese Company Buys Kobo

The Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. has reached an agreement with Indigo Books & Music to purchase all outstanding shares of Kobo Inc. for $315 million in an acquisition that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012. When the deal is completed, Kobo will keep its headquarters in Toronto and Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis will continue to direct the company.

S&S Revamps Sales, Marketing

Simon & Schuster has unveiled a new sales and marketing operation that will increase marketing efforts for both print and digital titles, while moving more of its sales efforts from physical stores to digital. As part of the shift, S&S is combining its field and national sales groups as well as telemarketing efforts into a new Retail Sales unit and creating a new Digital Sales unit. As a result of the change, Frank Fochetta, director of field sales, and Lauren Monaco, director of national accounts, are leaving the company along with what are believed to be about eight other sales employees. S&S, however, said it plans to hire about that same number to beef up its marketing programs and to fill selected spots in sales.

Hachette Sales Down

Third-quarter sales at Lagardère Publishing fell 5.2% in the third quarter, to 601 million euros, with sales off 8% in the U.S. and 10% in the U.K. Excluding currency fluctuations, sales fell 2.5%. The decline at the U.S. Hachette Book Group division was attributed to increased sales of lower-priced e-books and the impact of the Borders bankruptcy. E-books accounted for 21% of HBG’s revenue through the first nine months of the year, compared to 9% in the same period in 2010.

Equity Group Buys Media Source

Media Source Inc., parent company of Library Journal, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Junior Literary Guild, has been acquired by a group of private equity firms led by RLJ Equity Partners.

Sales Changes At NBN

National Book Network has promoted Jason Brockwell to director of sales and rehired Spencer Gale, who will take over as NBN’s national accounts manager at Barnes & Noble and will work with NBN publishers as an account manager. The company also brought on Ron Powers, former v-p of sales for national accounts at Ingram Content Group, to head NBN’s Fusion eBook business.