H.I.G. agrees to acquire audiobook publisher RBmedia from KKR

RBmedia employees will receive a cash payout based on their tenure with the company,, with long-term employees earning up to two times their annual salary.

  • RBmedia employees to receive cash payout based on their tenure 
  • Company worked with Golden Sachs, LionTree on the sale
  • Sale expected to close in fourth quarter

H.I.G. Capital agreed to acquire RBmedia, a leading audio book publisher, from KKR.

The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter. RBmedia employees will receive a cash payout based on their tenure with the company, KKR said in an announcement. Long-term employees will earn up to two times their annual salary.

KKR brought the asset to market earlier this year seeking up to $2 billion in a sale, PE Hub reported earlier this year. RBmedia worked with Goldman Sachs and LionTree Advisors on the process.

“This acquisition marks a milestone achievement for RBmedia and represents the next chapter in our ongoing business growth and expansion,” said Tom MacIsaac, chief executive officer for RBmedia.

“The audiobook market is set for significant growth and investment in the coming years,” said Aaron Tolson, managing director at H.I.G.

KKR invested in RBmedia in 2018 and under the firm’s ownership, the company doubled the size of its catalog to 66,000 audiobooks from 31,000. The company also expanded its distribution channels and experienced five years of double-digit revenue growth, invested in diverse content and expanded into international markets.

“Over the last five years, the RBmedia team has consistently delivered high-quality, award-winning content for customers and value for its authors and creators,” said Ted Oberwager, a partner who leads the gaming, entertainment, media and sports verticals within KKR’s Americas Private Equity business, and Richard Sarnoff, chairman of media at KKR. “We have every confidence that H.I.G. will help take RBmedia to even greater heights.”

Since 2011, KKR awarded equity worth billions of dollars to more than 60,000 non-management employees across more than 30 companies. The firm committed to deploying this model in all control investments across its Americas Private Equity platform. KKR is also a founding member of Ownership Works, a nonprofit organization that partners with companies and investors to provide all employees with the opportunity to build wealth at work.