Wasserstein & Co. has acquired the assets of Recorded Books, a provider of unabridged audiobooks and digital content, from Haights Cross Communications. Northwestern Mutual and Lexington Partners are co-investing in the transaction with Wasserstein & Co.
Recorded Books is a publisher of unabridged audiobooks and a provider of digital content to the library, school, and retail markets. The company owns an exclusive catalog of over 13,500 audiobook titles narrated by professional, award-winning actors. Recorded Books provides digital audiobooks and eBooks to libraries through its OneClick Digital platform, as well as electronic resources, including digital magazines and films, through its RBdigital Gateway platform. The president and CEO of Recorded Books is Rich Freese. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Prince Frederick, MD with additional offices in the UK and Australia (www.recordedbooks.com).
“Recorded Books is a premier audiobook publisher, drawing from the days when it pioneered the industry over thirty years ago,” said Anup Bagaria, Co-Managing Partner of Wasserstein & Co. “With a proven management team, a portfolio of high quality exclusive content, and proprietary technology, Recorded Books is well-positioned to capitalize on the shift from physical audiobook formats to digital content. We look forward to working closely with the Recorded Books team as it continues to build on its long-standing customer relationships and track record of strong growth.”
Wasserstein & Co. is focused primarily on leveraged buyout investments and related investment activities in the media, consumer products and water equipment and services industries. The firm has offices in New York and Los Angeles. The investment in Recorded Books was made through the firm’s third investment fund, Wasserstein Partners III (www.wasserco.com).
Financing for the transaction was provided by BNP Paribas. Berkery, Noyes & Co. acted as financial advisor to Haights Cross and Recorded Books.
“It was a pleasure working with the team at Haights Cross and Berkery, Noyes & Co. to complete this transaction.,” said Michael Struble, Managing Director of Wasserstein & Co. “We’re thrilled to be acquiring a business with great prospects in both the library and retail markets and to partner with the Recorded Books team during this next phase of growth.”
Haights Cross Communications is an educational and library publisher of books, periodicals, software, and online services, serving the following markets: K-12 supplemental education, public and school libraries, and consumers. Haights Cross companies include: Triumph Learning, Buckle Down Publishing and Options Publishing. The company was founded in 1997 and is based in New York (www.haightscross.com).
“With their world-class digital platform and new eBook offering rapidly gaining momentum, the timing is perfect for Recorded Books to be joining a quality, growth-oriented private equity firm like Wasserstein & Co. We wish them all every success,” said Rick Noble, CEO of Haights Cross Communications.
© 2014 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 1-31-14