New York, NY – April 18, 2016 – Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York-based private equity investment firm, announced today that Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P. has completed the sale of Baker & Taylor, a leading global provider of print and digital books and other multimedia to libraries, institutions and retailers, to Follett Corporation, a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content to pre-K and K-12 schools, districts, and college campuses. The combination of the two companies creates the world’s preeminent single source of curated content and multimedia for librarians and educators, with approximately $3.6 billion of combined sales. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
Baker & Taylor, founded in 1828, is a global leader in the delivery of print and digital books and other multimedia products. With its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and facilities throughout the U.S., United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia, Baker & Taylor sources print and digital content from approximately 25,000 publishers, and delivers more than 1 million unique products annually to over 20,000 public libraries, institutions and retailers throughout more than 120 countries. Through its customized library services, print on demand capabilities and an innovative and proprietary technology platform, comprised of Title Source 360, Axis 360, CollectionHQ and its recently launched K-12 school classroom software KnowledgePoint, Baker & Taylor provides value-added services to customers across the entire content collection cycle, including new title selection, procurement, processing, content delivery and collection analytics.
Eric Schwartz, Managing Director of Castle Harlan, commented, “We have had a rewarding partnership with the Baker & Taylor management team, which has done an exceptional job developing industry-leading technologies and services that allow us to serve our customers better. The sale of Baker & Taylor to Follett is the right strategic next step for the business, as the two companies complement each other well.”
Once the transaction closes, Follett has said that it expects Baker & Taylor to continue operating as before, serving customers through its existing management team and business operations.
The sale of Baker & Taylor to Follett follows the recent divestitures of two of Baker & Taylor’s former business lines in February of 2015, which marked a refocus for Baker & Taylor on its core business. YBP Library Services, which is a leading provider of collection management and technical services to academic, research and special libraries worldwide, was sold to EBSCO Publishing, Inc. Baker & Taylor Marketing Services' U.S.-based warehouse club business, which is a premier U.S. distributor of books to wholesale membership clubs, and Baker & Taylor Publishing Group, which publishes books under the imprints Silver Dolphin Books, Thunder Bay Press and Portable Press, were sold to Readerlink Distribution Services, LLC.
Sagent Advisors, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Baker & Taylor in the sale to Follett, and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP acted as legal counsel.
Castle Harlan, founded in 1987, invests in controlling interests in the buyout and development of middle-market companies worldwide. Castle Harlan has completed 55 acquisitions with more than 43,000 employees and total transaction value in excess of $11 billion. Castle Harlan, along with its affiliates, has managed investment funds with equity commitments of over $6 billion. The firm traces its roots to the start of the institutionalized private-equity business in the late 1960s. Since 1999 Castle Harlan has invested in Australia and Southeast Asia with its affiliate CHAMP Private Equity in Sydney and Singapore.
Castle Harlan’s current portfolio companies include Shelf Drilling, the leading global independent provider of shallow water jack-up drilling rig services; Tensar Corporation, the leading global designer and manufacturer of proprietary and highly-engineered non-traditional site development solutions for the infrastructure, transportation, and construction markets; and, Gold Star Foods, the leading nutritional food distributor to K-12 schools in California, Arizona and Nevada.