KKR Is Buying Digital Reading Platform OverDrive From Rakuten

By Noah Long ● December 28, 2019
  • KKR announced it is buying OverDrive from Rakuten USA. These are the details about the deal.

Leading global investment company KKR announced it is buying OverDrive from Rakuten USA. OverDrive is a digital reading platform for libraries and schools. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

OverDrive currently serves a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in more than 75 countries. And the company delivers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to millions of readers around the world.

Through its proprietary platform, OverDrive securely allows institutions to acquire and manage premium and differentiated digital content from a strong publisher network OverDrive built over 25 years.

“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,” said OverDrive founder and CEO Steve Potash. “This provides access to an extraordinary network of capabilities to empower our institutional partners for the benefit of the communities and readers they serve.”

KKR is making the investment in OverDrive through its KKR Americas XII Fund.

“KKR is delighted to be investing in OverDrive, a premier digital content platform that serves libraries and library patrons around the world,” added KKR member Richard Sarnoff. “OverDrive provides digital tools and services to libraries and schools so that they can lend the widest variety of digital books, audiobooks, and other materials, while at the same time respecting and compensating authors and publishers through the widest range of access models. It is a privilege to work with an industry-leading team, including founder and CEO Steve Potash, on growing this special franchise in the decade to come.”

KKR has made a number of investments in market-leading businesses in the digital media and content sectors. For example, the company has made investments in Epic Games, AppLovin, RBmedia, Pandora, WebMD, UFC, Leonine, BMG Rights Management, Next Issue Media, and Nielsen.

“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,” explained Ted Oberwager, Managing Director at KKR. “We look forward to working with the Company to further grow its portfolio and network, and continue to build on its status as a recognized leader in the digital content space.”

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and LionTree Advisors served as the financial advisors to KKR. And Simpson Thacher and Bartlett served as legal advisor to KKR.