Concern over the proposed takeover of Ottaker’s by HMV

As you may have read in the press, the Society of Authors is deeply concerned about the proposed takeover of Ottakar’s by HMV, the owners of Waterstone’s. The Office of Fair Trading has the power to refer the issue to the Competition Commission. Submissions have to be made to the OFT before Friday 23rd September.

PEN supports the Society’s view that the take-over would lead to a dangerous concentration of power in book retailing, stifling consumer choice and inhibiting the commissioning of new books. Waterstone’s claims that the combined turnover of the enlarged group would amount to 23.6% of the retail book market. However, the ‘consumer book market’ includes, for example, supermarkets, airport bookshops and WH Smith, all concentrating on a few bestsellers. Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s probably account for 50% of the turnover of stockholding bookshops offering range and choice.

PEN members concerned about the takeover should make submissions to the OFT ( by Friday.

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