Online marketplace Amazon has been investing heavily in India to overtake its local rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal. In a bid to expand its presence in the Indian book market, Amazon has reportedly agreed to acquire the remaining 74% stake in Westland Ltd, the publishing unit of the Tata Group retail company Trent Ltd.
The terms of the deal are undisclosed. Following this investment, Amazon will get the right to name one member to the Westland board.
In February, Amazon had bought a 26% stake in Westland for about $1.4 Mn (INR 9.5 Cr). Trent had said at the time that Amazon had the option to acquire the remaining 74% stake, later.
Talking about the acquisition, Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland said, “Amazon’s roots are in books and we are excited to be part of that team in the next phase of our journey.”
Amit Agarwal, Vice President and Country Manager at Amazon India said, “In just three years we have built India’s largest online store that customers can trust to find, discover, and buy anything online. Our acquisition of Westland continues our commitment to India—enabling Amazon to bring Westland’s highly talented authors and their books to even more customers in India and around the world.”
Chennai-based Westland began as a book distributor but ventured into publishing in 2007. The present company Westland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Landmark, is an amalgamation of two companies, EastWest Books and Westland Books, which were merged to form Westland in April 2008.
Amazon said the acquisition would help Westland’s authors to grow their physical and digital book businesses in India as well as expand their reach globally. Westland’s current roster of authors includes Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Rashmi Bansal, Rujuta Diwekar, Preeti Shelby, and Devdutt Pattanaik.
Earlier in August 2016, in an attempt to capture market share, Amazon India launched a ‘Used Books’ store category. The online store claims to have over 1,00,000 offers across genres such as literature, romance, biography, and textbooks.
The development was reported by Livemint.