British book retailer Waterstones has acquired family-owned bookstore chain Foyles, The Bookseller reported on Friday. The retailer has bought four shops in London as well as the stores in Bristol, Birmingham and Chelmsford.

James Daunt, the managing director of Waterstones, said that the acquisition was a move to undercut the competitive threat posed by Amazon, The Guardian reported. “Together we will be stronger and better positioned to protect and champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call,” he said.

The Booksellers Association had told a British parliamentary inquiry on Thursday that Amazon has put many bookstores out of business. The number of independent bookstores in Britain has halved to 858 since Amazon’s launch in United Kingdom two decades ago, they said.

Waterstones has 283 shops, and is Britain’s biggest book chain with £404 million (Rs 3,762 crore) in annual sales. The value of the Waterstones-Foyles deal has not been disclosed. Daunt said the book chain had approached the retailer for sale.

“My family and I are delighted that Foyles is entering a new chapter, one which secures the brand’s future and protects its personality,” chairperson Christopher Foyle said. “I look forward to witnessing the exciting times ahead for the company founded by my grandfather and his brother 115 years ago.”

A statement by the Foyle family said: “James Daunt has assured us of his desire to maintain and celebrate the Foyles name and our distinct bookselling identity.”