As the Office of Fair Trade prepares to investigate Amazon’s acquisition of UK-based online bookseller The Book Depository, the UK Booksellers Association and Publishers Association are entering the fray. The BA is formally opposing the merger, and the PA is preparing to do so.
“Amazon’s current position could be perceived by booksellers already as that of a de facto monopoly,” Booksellers Association CEO Tim Godfray told The Bookseller, and he believes that the merger could put Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) “into an even stronger position.”
The Office of Fair Trade is soliciting public comments on the merger, which must be submitted by July 18. The OFT will decide by August 30 whether to clear the deal or refer it to the Competition Commission.
The OFT previously investigated Waterstone’s purchase of bookstore chain Ottakar’s in 2006, and Woolworths’ purchase of wholesaler Bertrams in 2007 (a move that the Booksellers Association also opposed). It referred both deals to the CC, and the CC cleared both.