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TheSpot Heads To the Library

[May 18] Australian online retailer TheSpot has announced plans to create the region's largest online book retailer through a merger with a New Zealand e-tailer and bookstore chain Angus & Robertson Bookworld.

The deal propels TheSpot into one of the largest growth categories on the Internet by establishing a 'clicks and mortar' link with Angus & Robertson's 170 outlets across Australia.

The newly merged company is backed by Angus & Robertson in Australia and Whitcoulls in New Zealand, and has the investment support of Amazon and f2 Investments, the Fairfax Interactive Network's investment vehicle.

Under the deal, the existing Angus & Robertson Web site will be incorporated into TheSpot's portal, which will act as the exclusive online retail vehicle for Angus & Robertson, and provide access to over 1.5 million Angus & Robertson titles, delivery, Australian pricing and titles, and a returns infrastructure.

"Most Australian online book purchasers go to U.S. Web sites," said TheSpot chief executive officer Justin Punch. "Until now there has not been a local alternative with the choice, value and service that we will offer".

Shareholder and investor, the chief executive of f2 Nigel Dews, said the merger would build substantially on TheSpot's moves into toys and beauty which have preceded this deal.

"The merger creates a Trans-Tasman leader with the deepest locally-tailored offering of books available," he said. "The combined business will not only be good for the shareholders of the company, but also for the growth of retail e-commerce in Australia".

The merged company will retain the individual brand names on the local market, and Punch will assume the position of chief executive officer.



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