Amazon, which already owned 26 percent in Westland, has now agreed to acquire the remaining 74 percent stake in the company. While the acquisition has been announced formally, the financial details have not been made public yet.
Westland is a publishing company and subsidiary of Tata Group firm Trent. Earlier this year, the online marketplace had acquired a 26 percent stake in the Tata-owned publishing company for about Rs. 9.5 crore. In a statement, the company has said that the acquisition will enable Westland’s authors to grow their physical and digital book businesses in India as well as expand their reach to customers globally.
Westland’s current roster of authors includes Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Rashmi Bansal, Rujuta Diwekar, Preeti Shenoy, Devdutt Pattanaik, Christopher C Doyle, Anand Neelakantan, Anuja Chauhan, Ravi Subramanian, BKS Iyengar and Savi Sharma, among others.
Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country manager at Amazon India, said,
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. Since investing in Westland earlier this year, we have built a great relationship with the company and its authors. With this acquisition, we are very excited to take our relationship with Westland to the next level.
Amazon, which started out as an online bookstore in 1994,kicked off its own publishing unit — Amazon Publishing in 2009. Since then, Amazon Publishing has published books in different genres, from romance and thrillers to spirituality, comics, and science fiction.
Westland, which is a Chennai-based firm, began as a book distributor. It ventured into publishing in the year 2007. Today, the firm is one of the top five English-language trade publishers in the country. Its imprints include Tranquebar Press, EastWest, and Westland (for trade books, both fiction, and non-fiction).
Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland, said,
This is a great day for our authors and their readers across the globe. Amazon’s roots are in books and we are excited to be part of that team in the next phase of our journey.
Tata acquired the book publishing business from Hemu and Nataraj Ramaiah for around Rs. 100 crore in the year 2005. The present firm was formed from the merger of two companies — Westland Books Pvt. Ltd and EastWest Books (Madras) Pvt. Ltd, in the year April 2008.