It may have taken private equity firm KKR a little longer than expected to complete its acquisition of leading digital library platform OverDrive, but with the sale now complete OverDrive is moving quickly. In a release this week, OverDrive announced that it will acquire the library assets of another KKR-owned property, RBmedia, including the RBdigital platform in North America, the U.K, and Australia. Terms of the acquisition were not announced.
“Combining the RBdigital library business with OverDrive’s industry-leading technologies will greatly benefit libraries and their readers worldwide,” said Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, in a statement. “We’re proud to enhance our value proposition for libraries by delighting readers with this new content on the award-winning Libby and Sora reading apps.”
The deal represents a major development in the digital library market. OverDrive is the market leading distributor of digital content in libraries, and RBmedia is a major producer of audiobooks with a catalog of more than 45,000 exclusive titles through its various brands, including Recorded Books, Tantor Media, HighBridge, Kalorama Audio, ChristianAudio, Gildan Media, GraphicAudio, W. F. Howes in the United Kingdom, and Wavesound in Australia. Among RBmedia's major audio properties: Jeff Kinney's mega-bestselling Wimpy Kid series, as well as titles from Danielle Steel, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dean Koontz. RBmedia's publishing and direct-to-consumer businesses are not part of the deal and remain overseen by CEO Tom MacIsaac.
In addition to adding RBmedia's exclusive audio content, OverDrive officials said the company will also explore the addition of RBdigital services like digital magazines from ZINIO to the OverDrive platform. "As the owner of both RBmedia and OverDrive, KKR is uniquely positioned to facilitate this transaction," the release states.