July 28, 2014

Baker & Taylor Sold Again

By Michael Rogers

Castle Harlan buys book jobber from firm that bought it in 2003

Castle Harlan buys book jobber from firm that bought it in 2003 Private equity investment firm Castle Harlan May 11 announced an agreement to acquire Baker & Taylor (B&T) for $455 million – seemingly a good return for its current owners. The Goliath book jobber has changed hands several times in the last 14 years – it previously had been purchased by current owners Willis Stein & Partners, a Chicago private equity firm, in 2003 for $255 million.

At that time, B&T had been sold by the Carlyle Group, itself a global private equity operation, which acquired B&T Books, B&T Video, and Soft Kat businesses from W.R. Grace & Co. in March 1992. Gary Appel, Castle Harlan vice chair, said, ‘The experienced management team led by Richard Willis, president and chief executive officer, that has directed [B&T's] growth will continue to manage the business as our partners, and senior management will continue to retain an ownership stake in the company.’

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