This is a merger of equals.
Neither of the two staffs is disappearing; the sales, support and development personnel of both Bibliotheca and ITG remain in place. The management team of Bibliotheca ITG is comprised of members from both Bibliotheca's North American operation and ITG. While one of the objectives of any merger is to reduce costs, at Bibliotheca ITG, this is to be achieved by leveraging purchasing power and by eliminating redundancies in marketing, administration and finance.
This is a merger between a European based company and a U.S. company, not two American companies.
We look to combine the different strengths of the two companies. One, Bibliotheca AG, headquartered in Switzerland, has focused on the general needs of libraries across the globe while the other, ITG, headquartered in Atlanta, has focused specifically on the North American library market. There is therefore no logical reason to eliminate the R&D departments of either company.
Libraries are Bibliotheca ITG's only business.
We are, in fact, a library company that does technology, not vice versa. We are not part of a larger business unit that is charged with using RFID technology wherever it can find an appropriate market. We start from the perspective of libraries and develop solutions specifically for libraries.
Bibliotheca ITG has given an unequivocal commitment to continued development and support of both companies' products.
No company can warrant that a specific piece of equipment will continue to be manufactured forever. That said, the flexibility that both companies have built into their product development makes it possible to guarantee that as long as a library maintains its support and maintenance contract, we will be able not only to service the systems purchased but also provide replacement components that are equal to or superior to the originals. As hardware evolves, so do enhancements to software. Just as in the past with each company individually, under the new company, as long as a client is under a service agreement, the software investment a library has made will be protected and the software will continue to take advantage of future hardware advances as well as future standards developed by the industry.
Both companies' systems are based on recognized industry technology standards.
The RFID systems of both Bibliotheca and ITG are based on non-proprietary ISO15693 and ISO18000-3 standards. It is worthy of note that both companies entered into the RFID market before any library RFID technology standards had been adopted - both companies had been instrumental in promoting the advancement of open standards and Bibliotheca ITG will continue to so in the future. To further illustrate this point, the RFID systems that ITG installed during its first years in the business used proprietary technology that was also used by two other North American companies. ITG made a commitment to its customers, however, that if and when a standard should emerge, those systems would be adapted at no charge. That indeed did happen and every ITG system was converted to the ISO15693/18000-3 standard at no charge to the libraries.
The RFID systems of both companies use the same hardware and develop on the same software platform.
Both Bibliotheca and ITG have built their products around the same RFID hardware, primarily from just two companies – Feig and Tagsys. In addition, both companies' software is built on the .net platform. Bibliotheca ITG can, with relative ease, combine their R&D efforts. It also means that it will eventually be possible to roll up all of the features from any individual application, i.e. self-checkout, into a single product, providing the widest range of options and configurability. Bibliotheca ITG will be using the best offerings of both organizations (each of which have some of the best offerings in the industry) to make the combined offering even stronger - a significant benefit to the industry as well as our clients.
We have the experiences of others to learn from.
We have closely studied examples of other company mergers and library industry consolidations and believe that we have learned what to do as well as what not to do. The management teams of Bibliotheca ITG and Bibliotheca AG are industry veterans who have committed years to serving our library clients. We will continuously strive to view the world through a librarian's lenses, seeking to treat our customers in the same way that we ourselves would like to be treated.