Rakuten OverDrive in buyout deal with KKR investment firm

Rakuten OverDrive in buyout deal with KKR investment firm

Investment firm KKR has signed a deal to buy digital reading platform OverDrive from Rakuten for an undisclosed sum.

OverDrive is known in the UK for providing e-books to public libraries and has a worldwide network of 43,000 schools and libraries spanning 75 countries.

KKR has a string of investments in related companies including audiobook firm RBMedia, which it bought in 2018, and Nielsen.

The company said it would work with OverDrive founder and c.e.o. Steve Potash to grow the franchise.

Ted Oberwager, managing director at KKR, said: “At a time of accelerating digital adoption throughout libraries and schools, OverDrive offers its growing user base a best-in-class technology platform and reading experience—something we’re excited to be a part of. We look forward to working with the company to further grow its portfolio and network, and continue to build on its status as a recognised leader in the digital content space.”

Rakuten, which bought OverDrive for $410m in 2015, said it expected to report profits from the sale of around $365.6m (£280m) in the first quarter of 2020.

Potash said: “OverDrive is very excited to work with the world-class KKR team due to their track record of accelerating digital media and technology businesses in global markets. This provides access to an extraordinary network of capabilities to empower our institutional partners for the benefit of the communities and readers they serve.”