NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 24, 2019– KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire OverDrive, Inc. (“OverDrive” or the “Company”), the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, from Rakuten USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
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Serving a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in more than 75 countries, OverDrive delivers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to millions of readers around the world. With its proprietary platform, the Company securely allows these institutions to acquire and manage premium and differentiated digital content from a strong publisher network OverDrive has built over more than 25 years.
“KKR is delighted to be investing in OverDrive, a premier digital content platform that serves libraries and library patrons around the world,” said Richard Sarnoff, Member at KKR. “OverDrive provides digital tools and services to libraries and schools so that they can lend the widest variety of digital books, audiobooks, and other materials, while at the same time respecting and compensating authors and publishers through the widest range of access models. It is a privilege to work with an industry leading team, including founder and CEO Steve Potash, on growing this special franchise in the decade to come.”
“At a time of accelerating digital adoption throughout libraries and schools, OverDrive offers its growing user base a best-in-class technology platform and reading experience – something we’re excited to be a part of,” said Ted Oberwager, Managing Director at KKR. “We look forward to working with the Company to further grow its portfolio and network, and continue to build on its status as a recognized leader in the digital content space.”
“OverDrive is very excited to work with the world-class KKR team due to their track record of accelerating digital media and technology businesses in global markets,” said Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive. “This provides access to an extraordinary network of capabilities to empower our institutional partners for the benefit of the communities and readers they serve.”
KKR has a long history of successfully investing in market-leading businesses in the digital media and content sectors. KKR’s recent and related investments include Epic Games, AppLovin, RBmedia, Pandora, WebMD, UFC, Leonine, BMG Rights Management, Next Issue Media, and Nielsen, among others.
KKR is making the investment in OverDrive from its KKR Americas XII Fund.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and LionTree Advisors served as financial advisors to KKR and Simpson Thacher and Bartlett served as legal advisor to KKR.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. Named one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019 and one of TIME’s Best Apps of 2018, the award-winning Libby is the “one-tap reading app” for libraries. Sora, the student reading app, was honored as one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. We are dedicated to “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in 76 countries. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. www.overdrive.com
Kristi Huller or Cara Major