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Tata Group’s retail firm Trent Ltd on Thursday said online retail giant Amazon has picked up 26 per cent stake in its publishing arm Westland for Rs. 9.5 crore. “The investor would subscribe to Westland’s share capital such that it holds 26 per cent of the Westland’s share capital on a fully diluted basis, for an aggregate amount of approximately Rs. 9.5 crore,” Trent Ltd said in a BSE filing.
Under the definitive agreements signed by Trent, Amazon.com NV Investment Holding LLC and Westland, Amazon will have a right to appoint a director on the Board of Westland and also have the option to acquire the remaining 74 per cent of shares at a later date.
In a statement, Westland said the investment by Amazon will enable it to expand its international reach and scale their physical and digital book businesses. “We are very excited about this investment from Amazon and what it means for Westland, our customers and authors,” Westland CEO Gautam Padmanabhan said.
“Amazon’s roots are in books and they remain a major part of their business. This investment from a company with such deep experience in books, global reach and exciting digital platforms will help Westland take Indian authors and their works globally,” he added.
Amazon publishing director Sarah Jane Gunter said: “We are delighted that our investment in Westland will help their authors reach a broader audience worldwide Our investment in Westland continues Amazon’s commitment to innovating and investing heavily on behalf of customers in India — it’s still very much Day One.”
With an estimated market segment of Rs. 10,000 crore, India ranks seventh in overall global publishing and third after the U.S. and U.K. in English language publishing. Westland’s publishing lists include bestselling authors Amish, Ashwin Sanghi, Preeti Shenoy, Anuja Chauhan, Rashmi Bansal, Rujuta Diwekar, Devdutt Pattanaik, Dheeraj Sinha, Kiran Doshi, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Ashok Banker and Satyajit Das, among others.
The firm has a history of over 50 years in retail, distribution and publishing. The present company is an amalgamation of two companies, Westland Books Pvt Ltd and EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd.