After 40 years as one of the country's premier do-it-yourself legal book publishers and website portals, Nolo Inc., parent company of Nolo Press located in Berkeley, has been acquired by Internet Brands, a new media company based in El Segundo, Calif. which operates online media, community, and e-commerce websites in vertical markets. Nolo founder Jake Warner confirmed that the $21 million sale to Internet Brands was completed April 29. Internet Brands was founded in 1998 as CarsDirect.com and has since diversified its interests in areas that include legal, careers and shopping. It became aa public company in 2007, and in 2010, was acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
Warner said he and co-founder (and wife) Toni Ihara chose to sell to IB because they felt it would be best for its 108 employees. So far all Nolo employees have kept their jobs and CEO Bob Dubow will work through the transition period. According to Warner, IB will keep Nolo in Berkeley and is planning to move the small legal websites it has there. Nolo's operations will be combined with those of ExpertHub (www.experthub.com), Internet Brands' existing legal-focused division, with domains including Nolo.com, LawFirms.com and CriminalDefenseLawyer.com.
“One of the reasons we loved Internet Brands is that they totally get the value of top notch content,” said Warner. Producing high quality, accessible and affordable legal content has been Nolo’s mission since it was founded four decades ago this month. “Nolo needed to be part of a bigger enterprise going forward,” he added.
Although Nolo's online business has grown rapidly, its print operations will continue under IB. In a blog post welcoming Nolo into the company, Internet Brands CEO Bob Brisco called Nolo “the leading legal publisher for consumers—both in print and online.” Brisco’s laid out IB’s three-pronged plans for its latest acquisition: “1. Expand Nolo's lead as the best consumer legal publisher in all formats (print, -ebooks, web, mobile] 2. Invest strongly in the digital parts of the business 3. Capture synergies with our existing online businesses.” Steve Lombardi, general manager of ExpertHub will head Nolo going forward.
"We're confident that Internet Brands' proven expertise in e-commerce, consumer-focused products, and online marketing services will maximize Nolo's online presence," said Warner. "After four decades of success, we are excited to see Nolo continue to thrive in the hands of the Internet Brands team."