Ohio private equity firm Riverside Co. has dealt its Media Source, a children’s literature specialist, the PE firm announced. It is Riverside’s fifth exit of 2011. The PE firm struck deals to acquire The Horn Book Inc. in Massachusetts and titles from Reed Business Information after making the acquisition of Media Source in 2007. Specifics on the transaction were not publicized.
Firm Sells Children’s Literature Specialist
Riverside has completed its fifth exit of 2011 with the sale of Media Source, Inc. (MSI). Based in Plain City, Ohio, MSI is the parent company of three businesses that promote and sell children’s books. MSI delivers a variety of services and products geared toward the library industry, including book collection development, magazine subscriptions, book reviews, websites, webinars, and conferences.
Riverside acquired MSI in April 2007 and completed two add-on acquisitions during its hold period – The Horn Book, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts in January 2009, and several titles from Reed Business Information of New York, New York in February 2010.
Librarians at K-12, public, academic, and other libraries trust MSI’s expertise, thanks to its quality and commitment to children’s literature. Its Junior Library Guild business line reviews thousands of new children’s books each year and selects the best titles to categorize into more than 40 different reading levels and sell directly to approximately 20,000 librarians on an annual subscription basis. The company’s School Library Journal, Library Journal, and Horn Book divisions provide critical information to the library market via several different digital and print media products. In addition to reviewing more books than any company, MSI provides librarians with the knowledge necessary to excel in their profession while providing publishers and vendors access to a critical market via top-of-mind advertising and marketing support.
Riverside’s growth efforts helped drive outstanding results at MSI, which had revenue growth of 162% and EBITDA growth of 143% during the firm’s hold period, as MSI cemented its role as a leader in the children’s publishing field.
“Despite challenging economic conditions during our ownership, Media Source consistently grew its offering and customer base,” said Riverside Managing Partner Suzy Kriscunas. “It’s a testament to our effective strategy, and to the outstanding work delivered by the company’s management and employees.”
Beyond making the two accretive add-on acquisitions, Riverside provided considerable assistance to MSI during its ownership. This work included adding significant talent to the management team and bringing two industry experts to the MSI board. MSI also benefitted from Riverside’s extensive expertise in the education and training field, where the firm has developed a specialization while completing 25 acquisitions in the industry. Riverside’s operating resources also played a role in the MSI story, as members of the Operating team worked with MSI, and lean process specialists from the Riverside Toolkit helped increase efficiencies. MSI also took advantage of Riverside’s pooled purchasing initiative to save on operating expenses.
“Media Source has exceptional potential for continued success and growth,” said Riverside Principal Peter Tsang. “Its outstanding service and value proposition help it retain and deepen customer relationships, and there are many avenues for expansion domestically and internationally. We enjoyed working with such a strong management team.”
Working with Kriscunas and Tsang on the transaction for Riverside were Vice President Steven Burns and Operating Partner David Gold. Riverside Regional Director of Origination Amy Margolis helped facilitate the exit. MSI was Riverside’s fifth exit of 2011 and its 66th overall.
Piper Jaffray & Co. advised Riverside on the sale of MSI to RLJ Equity Partners, LLC, and Jones Day provided legal counsel on the deal.
The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing enterprises valued at up to $200 million (€200 million in Europe). The firm partners with strong management teams and enhances its investments through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 260 transactions with a total enterprise value of more than $5.4 billion/€4.4 billion. The firm’s portfolio in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region includes more than 75 companies with roughly 14,000 employees. Riverside completes acquisitions smoothly thanks to $3.4 billion/€2.7 billion in assets under management, more than 200 professionals in 19 offices, and longstanding relationships with partner lenders.