Bertram Capital announced today the sale of Author Solutions, a provider of professional self-publishing services, to Pearson plc, the parent of Penguin Books Ltd, one of the largest traditional book publishers in the world, for $116 million in cash. The sale of Author Solutions marks Bertram Capital’s third portfolio company exit in the last nine months.
Since Bertram Capital’s investment in 2007, Author Solutions (“ASI”) has grown to be the world’s leading provider of professional self-publishing services. Bertram Capital acquired ASI in April 2007 and acquired iUniverse as its first add-on acquisition in October of 2007. After integrating iUniverse, the company then completed the acquisitions of Xlibris and Trafford in 2009. Beginning with a platform investment in a business with approximately $25 million in trailing revenue, these strategic acquisitions, aggressive business development and internal operational improvements expanded the business more than 4x over the ownership period. Author Solutions is based in Bloomington, IN (www.authorsolutions.com).
“ASI’s extraordinary growth and its impact on the self-publishing industry clearly demonstrate the capability our buy and build approach has to create market leaders that are attractive acquisitions for strategic buyers,” said Jeff Drazan, Managing Partner at Bertram Capital. “We successfully executed three add-on acquisitions for the ASI platform and grew the business more than 4x in just over five years, ultimately creating the world’s largest self-publishing business.”
Bertram Capital invests in middle-market business services, consumer, healthcare, industrial and technology companies. Bertram is currently investing out of its $500 million second fund and typically allocates $25 million to $100 million to each investment. Since the firm’s inception, Bertram has managed in excess of $850 million in committed capital and has completed 8 platform investments and 14 follow-on acquisitions. The firm is located in San Mateo, CA (www.bertramcapital.com).
“Working in partnership Kevin Weiss and his team at ASI for the past five years has been a great experience for the Bertram team,” said Jared Ruger, a Partner at Bertram. “Together, we transformed a slow growing, breakeven business into a fast-growing, consistently profitable innovator in its market that ultimately attracted the attention of a major strategic player. We achieved our goal of building a business that was both relevant and attractive to a strategic buyer. We wish Pearson well as they take the reins and lead ASI into the future.”