Wasserstein acquires Recorded Books from Haights Cross Communications

Wasserstein & Co, on behalf of its private equity fund Wasserstein Partners III, has acquired all of the assets of Recorded Books from Haights Cross Communications (HCC), a K-12 educational and library publisher.

Northwestern Mutual and Lexington Partners are co-investing in the transaction with Wasserstein & Co.
With operations in the US, UK, 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.
Rich Freese, president and CEO of Recorded Books, says: “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,” says 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 capitalise 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.”
Rick Noble, CEO of Haights Cross Communications, says: “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 Recorded Books.

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