Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

Press Release -- Swets and Blackwells combine subscriptions and information services (Michael Markwith) Stephen Clark 22 Jun 1999 16:03 UTC

Below is a text version of a press release received from Michael Markwith,
CEO of Swets & Zeitlinger BV -- SERIALST Editor.

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

Blackwell's and Swets to combine subscriptions and information services

Blackwell Ltd and Swets & Zeitlinger BV announce an agreement of their
formal intention to combine Swets Subscription Service and Blackwell's
Information Services, the two subscription agency services.

Subject to the completion of satisfactory arrangements currently under
discussion, the creation of the new organisation will be concluded later
this year. The integration of the services and systems will be undertaken
over the next 24 months. The Head Office of the joint venture will be
located in The Netherlands.

Swets and Blackwell's are two of the leading global subscription agents
and information service companies, providing innovative services in the
area of print and electronic publications to many thousands of libraries
and scholars around the world.

Journals publishing and distribution are undergoing fundamental changes as
a result of the impact of the Internet and electronic networks. The merger
agreement is a result of a recognition by the two companies that their
combined skills and expertise will place the new organisation in a unique
position to meet the evolving needs of customers and publishers in the new
millennium.  Both companies have a long history of serving libraries
worldwide and strong track records in developing services that assist
customers in the challenges that have faced them in recent years. The
joint venture will result therefore in a company with a leading global
position in the area of information and subscription services and one
strongly equipped as a major partner both for libraries and publishers.

It is also recognised that their business philosophies have a strong
similarity, placing a high regard on personal and responsive service
combined with an innovative approach to meeting library needs. Both
companies employ staff who are highly experienced and professional,
ensuring that the customer service capabilities of the new organisation
will be second to none. Staff of both companies have been informed of the
development and will be consulted regularly throughout the transition

Swets and Blackwell's individually have leading positions in a number of
different geographic markets. The merger of the two companies will allow
the new organisation to bring an extended range of services to libraries
all round the world. The sharing of experience and resources in service
and product development, and the expertise in responding to new purchasing
trends such as library consortia, will result in significant benefits for
the companies' customers.

Pieter Rustenburg, Chairman of the Board of Swets & Zeitlinger BV, stated
"We are delighted with the prospect of being able to work with Blackwell's
in future as a partner rather than as a competitor. Over the years we have
held Blackwell's in the highest regard, aware of the very significant
reputation and tradition they have in the library community. The
opportunity now for our two companies to bring together the unique
strengths and services of our organisations for the good of our customers
is very exciting".

He continued:  "The reputation of both our companies has been built on
excellent customer service delivered by dedicated and professional staff.
Employee satisfaction drives customer satisfaction. That philosophy will
be high on our agenda for the new partnership, where we shall continue to
aim for the highest calibre of staff. Our intention is to retain as many
existing people as possible in current or similar roles."

Anthony Thompson , Group Chief Executive of Blackwell Ltd, said:
"The combination of Swets Subscription Services and Blackwell's
Information Services is a logical strategic move. Swets has an excellent
reputation and we are pleased to be joining forces with such a quality
company to deliver the best service for our customers.

"It is important to recognise that this business operates on wafer thin
margins and that the cost of doing business via electronic as well as
paper journal subscriptions has grown rapidly in the last 2-3 years. To
have a sustainable business size and scale are becoming increasingly
important. In a competitive global market we have now brought the
necessary resources together to meet the growing needs of our customers

He continued:  "Our key focus now is to ensure that all staff affected by
this announcement are treated with respect and fairness during what will
inevitably be a period of uncertainty and change. I am confident that the
transition will be properly managed and will therefore be successful.
Ultimately what will really make the difference is the quality and calibre
of staff that will form the new organisation.  I am confident that
together Blackwell's and Swets will be an unbeatable market leader."

For the time being, it will be 'business as usual'.. The two companies will
continue to provide services to their respective customers and all
renewals of subscriptions for 2000 (for customers and to publishers) will
be undertaken separately by Swets and Blackwell's. Customers should
continue to liaise with their existing contacts at the companies. The
integration of systems and services will be phased in during 2000 and 2001
to ensure an efficient transition to the new arrangements. Customers and
publishers will be kept informed of developments.

Notes for editors:

Blackwell's Information Services, a division of Blackwell Limited, has
been in the library supply and information delivery business for over 90
years, serving academic, medical, corporate and government library
markets. Blackwell's Information Services has offices in Oxford, England,
New York,  New Jersey, Sydney and Singapore.
Related companies include Blackwell Retail Ltd.(84 UK bookshops),
Blackwell's Books Services (global library supply of books) and two
publishing companies: Blackwell Science and Blackwell Publishing.

Swets Subscription Service is a division of Swets & Zeitlinger, an
international company heavily involved in all developments within the area
of electronic publishing and the distribution of scientific and
professional information.  Swets Subscription Service has offices in 18
countries and handles subscriptions for some 200,000 titles from more than
50,000 publishers worldwide. Increasing numbers of titles are now
electronic-based or delivered via the Internet.

Other divisions within Swets and Zeitlinger are Swets Backsets Service
(backsets and reprints of scholarly journals), Swets Document Systems
(data conversion), Swets Test Publishers (development and publishing of
psychological tests), Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers (scholarly journal and
book publishers).   Swets & Zeitlinger has over 800 employees.

For further information please contact:
Kim Hallett                                             Bart de Gans
Blackwell's Information Services                        Swets & Zeitlinger
+44 1 865 262 556                                       +31-252-435.388