KKR Completes OverDrive Purchase

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From Publishers Weekly:

The investment firm KKR has completed its purchase of OverDrive. On Christmas Eve, KKR announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the digital reading platform from the Japanese conglomerate Rakuten. The deal was expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2020; it is not known whether the pandemic caused a problem in completing the agreement.

“With the sale completed, we are excited to begin working on the opportunities to grow our digital content platform with KKR’s support,” said Steve Potash, OverDrive founder and CEO, in a statement. “We are pleased to have an investor with global resources that knows our industry, believes in our mission and is committed to helping us and our library and school partners succeed.”

In addition to OverDrive, KKR owns RBmedia, one of the largest independent publishers and distributors of audiobooks. The OverDrive acquisition, like that of RB, was overseen by Richard Sarnoff, one-time executive at Random House who also was president of Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments until leaving for KKR in 2011.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG hopes this doesn’t mean that libraries get squeezed by higher ebook expenses.

It also occurred to PG that KKR, a good-sized investment firm, might be thinking of doing something big with ebooks and audiobooks. He suspects Amazon has been watching this deal develop with more than casual interest.

3 thoughts on “KKR Completes OverDrive Purchase”

  1. Given KKR’s track record on privacy, data retention, etc. — a track record slightly worse than the Big Three credit-reporting agencies — I think that’s much more worrisome. Because I remember Bork’s video-store records… and the short bit in All the President’s Men burrowing into the Library of Congress’s borrowing records… and so on.

  2. Ah, shows how much I am in my own little bubble. Saw the headline, and got all excited over the other KKR (Kristine Katherine Rusch) acquiring them. Now that would be a revolution if she got hold of a major distribution platform.

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