05/02/2000, Charlotte-based Baker & Taylor, Inc., today announced the formation of a new company that will become the repository for all activities that Baker & Taylor conducts in the electronic business arena.
"The new company's objective,¨ said Baker & Taylor CEO Craig Richards, "is to focus on developing the fast-paced business-to-business e-commerce opportunities emerging today."
He added: "The Internet has created an opportunity, and indeed a necessity, for business and business processes to change." The new company represents a key step in this direction, he noted. The new company's name will be announced at a later date after the trademark and registration process is complete.
In outlining the company's role, Richards said it will be an independent business-to-business dot-com entity offering valuable services to the marketplace. Initially the new entity will have three primary areas of focus:
- Distribution of electronic content. Even though market demand for electronic content is in the early stages, it is progressing at a remarkable pace. "The new company will combine the electronic content operations along with infrastructure development and vendor relationships to become a major player in this emerging market opportunity," Richards predicted. Plans call for transferring to the new company Baker & Taylor's ownership interests in Replica Books, a print-on-demand publisher, and Yankee Rights Management, which is involved in management of digital distribution rights.
- Database operations. Baker & Taylor will transfer to the new company all of the assets and operations of its Electronic Business and Information Services unit, which is engaged in the licensing of its database and related applications, Richards said. "We will set up inter-company operating agreements that permit the new company to leverage Baker & Taylor's relationships and role as a major distributor of product. The company's database operations will consist of data and application licensing, library cataloging and support of Baker & Taylor and other vendors' product sales."
- Creation of Internet portals to host fulfillment services for related vendors. The first portal the company will establish is www.TheLibraryPlace.com for libraries. "We intend," he said, "to build a portal that offers libraries access in one location to everything they require to operate. The portal will provide a level of free services and information -- including industry news, career postings and new product information -- along with premium levels of paid services designed to meet the needs of librarians." TheLibraryPlace.com will establish supply relationships with vendors of all types, so that such items as furniture, computers, and office and processing supplies can be located and acquired through the site. Additional host portals will be developed in the future.
At the moment, Baker & Taylor owns 100 percent of the new company, but its CEO said that will likely change. "We expect to seek outside equity financing and form strategic relationships with third parties that will result in a reduction of Baker & Taylor's ownership percentage," Richards said.
The commitment of time and resources necessary for the success of the new business and continuing poor stock market conditions have caused Baker & Taylor, at least for the time being, to withdraw its IPO, the CEO stated. He also stated that initially, he would serve as CEO of both companies.
In closing, Richards said, "As the only company in the media distribution industry offering books, music and movie products to public, academic and school libraries, traditional and Internet retailers, we are uniquely positioned to provide the point of connection between our suppliers and our customers. The full business model in the e-distribution area is just beginning to take shape and the marketplace is looking for a trusted business partner such as Baker & Taylor, and the relationships it can forge, to provide a solution."
Baker & Taylor, Inc. is a global information and entertainment services company that offers books, videos, music and services to libraries, educational institutions and traditional and Internet retailers. Baker & Taylor is based in Charlotte, N.C.