The Bookseller reports that The Booksellers Association has hit out at the Competition Commission‘s decision to green light the acquisition of Bertrams by Woolworths. Woolies will now press on with a merger of THE with Bertrams, with the restructure expected to take six months. The BA said that 85% of its members had come out against a merger. “Many of our smaller members felt that they were particularly vulnerable should this acquisition proceed,” said c.e.o. Tim Godfray.
Pat Seward, owner of the Carnforth Bookshop in Lancashire, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the ruling. “I can’t see the merger doing anything other than taking away competition,” she said. But tThe CC admonished wholesalers for misleading statements. They initially told the CC that they never reduced discount rates to individual retailers. This was found to be untrue, in particular when retailers switched preferred accounts. “We drew our serious concerns about the misleading nature of the statements made to us to the attention of the parties and their advisers,” the CC said.