A century after the Monotype and Linotype font foundries were founded, the two companies are to become one with the acquisition of Linotype by Monotype.

Monotype’s acquisition of Linotype brings together some of the most famous typefaces in history, including Arial and Times New Roman from Monotype and Helvetica and Frutiger from Linotype. Although the acquisition has taken place, Linotype will continue to operate out of Germany as a wholly owned subsidiary of Monotype Imaging.

Senior VP Doug Shaw explained: “The combined company will have 220 people dedicated to type worldwide. There will be fifty people working from Linotype’s Hamburg office, and another 170 people will be working for Monotype in our Boston head office.”

Big players

According to Monotype CEO Bob Givens the merger will benefit the company in its dealings with companies like Adobe. “Through the acquisition we become a truly international company,” he explained. Both companies hope to benefit from the combination of Linotype’s typeface library and Monotype Imaging’s font technology offerings and global distribution strengths.

Givens denied that it was unfortunate that the two historical font companies would now combine, with one relinquishing control to the other, and explained: “We need to be a strong company to deliver products to the likes of Adobe and Microsoft. Font people are tiny people. We are tiny businesses in comparison to these big companies. We will be much stronger together than we are alone”.

Consumers are unlikely to see a difference, the companies claim. Givens explained that while the acquisition brings the Linotype, Monotype and ITC libraries under one umbrella, all three brands will continue to be completely separate - Linotype and Monotype will continue to be sold from their own independent website, for example. Neither will new fonts will not be developed under a joint brand.

Tidying up

The only changes consumers are likely to notice is a tidying up of shared or similar fonts. Linotype MD Bruno Steiner added: “The companies have a number of cross licensing agreements for fonts that are the same.”

In the future the companies hope to combine their own technologies, such as Linotype's Font Explorer and Monotype's Fontwise to create tools for professional use.

The companies also hope to set standards in the industry and to develop and enhance technologies that make it possible to display small fonts on the low-resolution displays of consumer electronic goods such as mobile phones.