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Wasserstein & Co. Acquires Recorded Books LLC From Haights Cross Communications

Friday, January 31, 2014

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wasserstein & Co., LP (“Wasserstein & Co.”), on behalf of its private equity fund Wasserstein Partners III, has acquired all of the assets of Recorded Books LLC (“Recorded Books” or the “Company”), one of the leading worldwide providers of unabridged audiobooks, digital content, and services to the library, school, and retail markets, from Haights Cross Communications, Inc. (“HCC”), a leading K-12 educational and library publisher. Northwestern Mutual and Lexington Partners are co-investing in the transaction with Wasserstein & Co.

With operations in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, Recorded Books offers more than 13,500 exclusive unabridged audiobooks to the library, school, and retail markets. In addition, Recorded Books offers libraries more than 100,000 eBooks through its proprietary OneClick Digital platform, and 12 electronic resources including Zinio, a multi-platform distribution service for digital magazines, and IndieFlix, a streaming movie service. The Company’s U.K. subsidiary, W.F. Howes Ltd., is the leading publisher of audiobooks in the U.K. and a preeminent service provider to libraries in the region.

Rich Freese, President and CEO of Recorded Books said, “We are excited to work with Wasserstein & Co., whose expertise in the stewardship of content-owning media businesses will enable us to expand our leadership position in the audiobook, eBook, and digital content markets. This strategic partnership provides us with the resources to further broaden our content offerings and services for customers, and accelerate our growth into additional global markets.”

“Recorded Books is a premier audiobook publisher, drawing from the days when it pioneered the industry over thirty years ago,” commented 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.”

Michael Struble, Managing Director of Wasserstein & Co., added, “It was a pleasure working with the team at HCC and Berkery, Noyes & Co. to complete this transaction. 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.”

Rick Noble, CEO of Haights Cross Communications, suggested that, “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.”

Financing for the transaction was provided by BNP Paribas. Jones Day served as legal advisor to Wasserstein & Co. Berkery, Noyes & Co. acted as financial advisor to HCC and the Company.

About Berkery Noyes

Berkery Noyes provides strategic mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transaction advisory services to middle-market healthcare, technology and information companies in the United States and internationally. The firm has advised many notable companies including Haymarket in its sale of Compliance Week to The Wilmington Group, ExitCare in its sale to Elsevier, Therapeutic Research in its sale to Francisco Partners, H.W. Wilson in its sale to EBSCO and UpToDate in its sale to Wolters Kluwer. For more detailed information, please visit: http://www.berkerynoyes.com.



 

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    Wasserstein & Co. Acquires Recorded Books LLC From Haights Cross Communications