Monotype Imaging Holdings is set to acquire the font business of rival Bitstream in a $50m (32m) all cash deal that will leave Bitstream to focus on its Pageflex print automation tool and other software businesses.
The merger, which is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2012, includes Bitstream's MyFonts.com website, comprising 89,000 fonts from around 900 foundries, and its widely-used WhatTheFont identification service.
Other assets subject to the sale agreement include the Bitstream typeface library, the Font Fusion and Panorama font rendering and layout OEM technologies, a range of fonts for embedded and mobile environments, and 10 patents.
Around 15 employees from Bitstream's US operations and approximately 40 engineers and type designers from its development facility in India will join Monotype Imaging through the merger.
Bitstream's non-font assets, including the Pageflex business and Bolt browser technology, will be spun off into a newly-formed company, Marlborough Software Development Holdings (MSDH), prior to completion of the deal.
Doug Shaw, president and chief executive officer at Monotype Imaging, said: "The acquisition fits squarely in our stated strategy of expanding IP, growing our customer base, capturing emerging opportunities, and increasing momentum in our growth businesses.
"Bitstream will bring a strong e-commerce business and a thriving online community that is highly complementary to our strength in serving corporations and brands. We'll also gain an expanded OEM customer base for our Display Imaging business, operations in India, and a team of highly respected type experts to add to our own."
John Collins, vice president and chief technology officer at Bitstream, added: "This is a historic marriage. Combining MyFonts' success in bringing together cutting-edge type designs from 21st century designers with Monotype Imaging's huge library of classic faces and top-notch design expertise sets up a strong, exciting future for type."
Bitstream shareholders will receive shares in MSDH ahead of the merger, with the newly-formed company also taking on certain liabilities from Bitstream, principally related to the non-font assets.
Bitstream’s chairman and interim chief executive Amos Kaminsky said that the deal would benefit the company's shareholders by "monetizing Bitstream's legacy font business for an amount which represents most of Bitstream’s current market capitalization"
Kaminsky added that Pinhas Romik, general manager of Bitstream's Pageflex business, had been named chief executive of MSDH with immediate effect.
He said: "Pinhas has been manager of our Pageflex division with responsibilities for the integration of the iWay acquisition, as well as helping foster significant relationships such as the one we have recently established with Heidelberg."
Romik addrd: "I want to thank the current board members of Bitstream for their support. I continue to be excited by the opportunities for Pageflex as a leader in the print and marketing automation tools business. I am also excited about opportunities to extend the reach of our Bolt browser technology."
In addition to Kaminsky, the board of MSDH will comprise Jon Kagan, Mel Keating, and Raul Martynek, who will serve as chairman of the board. Bitstream chief financial officer Jim Dore will continue in the same role at MSDH.