Two of the leading US information platforms for the global beverage industry have merged to create an international online and offline communications company.

eSkye Solutions, formerly eSkye.com, the technology solutions company, and BevAccess, the trading network and beverage magazine publisher, have decided, due to "industry pressure", to amalgamate their operations.

"As both of us approached the industry participants with our products, people began asking why we weren't combining our talents," eSkye Solutions's CEO Smoke Wallin told just-drinks.com. "Building the business as competitors didn't seem productive and the industry, shareholders and investors put pressure on us to start talking."

The new company will provide a national network of products and online services aimed at all tiers of the industry - retailers, distributors, suppliers and control states. It will cover 40 states in the US and use BevAccess's operations in the UK and Spain to push further into Europe in the future.

It also includes BevAccess's publishing division, Beverage Media Group, the 65 year-old company which publishes the Beverage Journal and serves the national office for The Beverage Network, supplying over 140,000 subscribers. This allows the merged company to exploit both its online and offline capabilities.

Mark Sanders, CEO of BevAccess said: "This strategic merger combines the strengths of our respective operations, enabling us to pursue our common goal of expanding technology and customer services through a fully-integrated print and online network."

He also said the offline media had "formidable growth potential" as the "on-trade was still looking for offline opportunities" and used the magazines to complement the online service.

Neither men would disclose the financial details of the deal while the merger was subject to due diligence though the business had "significant capital" and would not need to approach investors for more money, Wallin explained. eSkye Soultions rationalised its operations in March this year, making 25 staff redundant. Wallin said there were no plans to cut more staff: "This deal is about both parties achieving further growth."

He also said he was cautious of expanding too quickly but felt the company has scope to offer the on-trade globally e-commerce solutions. "It doesn't matter if it's a hotelier in Texas or a bar manager in Hong Kong - they both have similar needs and brand managers around the world will want to target them."