By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Photofinishing franchise MotoPhoto and the Independent Photo Imagers buying group (IPI) announced that they will merge to strengthen the groups' fortunes in the besieged photo specialty channel.
The 150 MotoPhoto franchised retailers in the United States and Canada would link with the 400 members of IPI, who account for roughly 600 storefronts in the United States and Mexico. MotoPhoto franchises will become IPI members to leverage the group's buying power while IPI members will be able to buy in to avail themselves of a co-branded MotoPhoto marketing program, which includes direct mail, national e-mail blasts, a newsletter and integration with the franchise's central Web site.
IPI members will also have access to MotoPhoto's national gift card program and its MOTOePics online digital print fulfillment program.
The merger is expected to be registered with the Federal Trade Commission, which will allow co-branding of MotoPhoto and IPI within the next 90 days.
In a statement announcing the merger, MOTO Franchise Corp. president/CEO Harry Loyle said the move marked the end of inter-channel competition and an effort to beat back mass-retail.
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