Waterstones has acquired independent book business Foyles as it promises to help the chain fight back against “Amazon’s siren call”.
Waterstones, which was bought by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors this year, has purchased the book chain from the Foyle family for an undisclosed sum.
Foyles was founded 115 years ago by brothers William and Gilbert Foyle, who started the business by selling textbooks, before setting up shop on Charing Cross Road in central London.
The bookshop has other outlets across London, at the Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo and Westfield Stratford, as well as shops in Bristol, Birmingham and Chelmsford.
Watersones has been in expansion mode after it was sold by Alexander Mamut, the Russian billionaire who owned the book brand through his investment vehicle Lynwood Investments.
The sale ended Mr Mamut’s seven-year ownership of the business, although he still maintains a minority stake in the company.
James Daunt, Waterstones’ managing director, said the acquisition of Foyles would help both brands face off the threat from e-commerce giant Amazon.
“We are honoured to be entrusted with the Foyles business, and greatly look forward to joining forces with the Foyles bookselling team,” Mr Daunt said.
“Together, we will be stronger and better-positioned to protect and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call.”
He said that Waterstones, which also owns Hatchards in London’s Piccadilly and Hodges Figgis in Dublin, saw itself as “responsible stewards” of independent book stores.
“It is an exciting and invigorating time in bookselling as good bookshops are rediscovering their purpose in the fight back against online and e-reading,” he said.
Christopher Foyle, chairman of Foyles, said: “My family and I are delighted that Foyles is entering a new chapter, one which secures the brand’s future and protects its personality.
“I look forward to witnessing the exciting times ahead for the company founded by my Grandfather and his brother 115 years ago.”