Value Music has agreed to buy the nine-unit, Owing Mills, Md.-based Record & Tape Traders chain, in a deal expected to close on Nov. 16.

"We will operate eight of the stores and they will close one," says Value Music president Rob Perkins. "Record & Tape Traders have great people working in their stores, with strong name recognition in the Baltimore trade area, and have built up 30 years of goodwill among their customers."

In addition to the strength of the Record & Tape business and brand, Perkins says there is a good upside opportunity in the acquired stores through Value Music's systems and product diversification experience.

If the deal closes, it will give Marietta, Ga.-based Value Music 56 stores. Record & Tape Traders owners Kevin Stander and Steve Smolen will stay on as consultants through a transition period, according to Perkins.

The move also means that Value Music, which began life operating as an off-price music merchant in outlet shopping centers, continues its diversification into the indie retail sector. In the last few years, it has acquired Bart's CD Cellar in Boulder, Colo.; Vinyl Fever in Tallahassee, Fla.; Spin Street in Memphis; Backdoor Disc in Cotati, Calif.; Gem City Records in Dayton, Ohio; and two Manifest Disc's stores in Charlotte and Columbia, S.C.