US font giant Monotype Imaging has acquired German type foundry Linotype for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that creates one of the world’s largest providers of typeface design and imaging technologies.
The deal provides the two companies with a global reach and the combined resources to develop technologies for the growing consumer electronics market, in particular mobile phones. According to Monotype chief executive officer Bob Givens, the need to develop systems for electronic devices is an important driver of the merger. ‘We must innovate in emerging markets and devices such as cameras, set-top boxes and phones will all need scalable fonts,’ he explains.
The deal also offers the companies a combined strength in the fight against type piracy and the distribution of unlicensed fonts. ‘This is a big problem. Fonts are one of the most pirated things in intellectual property,’ says Doug Shaw, senior vice-president of Monotype Imaging. ‘We really want to work with different software protection agencies around the world to acknowledge that [fonts] are software and to educate people on how to licence and use them.’
Under the terms of the deal, Linotype will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Monotype, retaining its management, name and library, home to fonts such as Helvetica and Frutiger. The company’s Apple Mac software FontExplorer X will remain free, according to Linotype managing director Bruno Steinert.
MONOTYPE IMAGING/ LINOTYPE:
• Distributes more than 100 000 end-user fonts across the two websites: www.fonts.com and www.linotype.com
• Developing scalable fonts for consumer electronics devices
• 220 employees: 50 at Linotype headquarters in Germany; 70 in Monotype offices worldwide; the remainder in Monotype’s US headquarters