I do not know why they chose to announce this on Christmas eve, but yesterday Rakuten announced that it was selling Overdrive to KKR.
KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire OverDrive, Inc. (“OverDrive” or the “Company”), the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools, from Rakuten USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“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”
Serving a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in more than 75 countries, OverDrive delivers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to millions of readers around the world. With its proprietary platform, the Company securely allows these institutions to acquire and manage premium and differentiated digital content from a strong publisher network OverDrive has built over more than 25 years.
Rakuten acquired Overdrive in March 2015, paying a reported $410 million for the company. The sale price has not been disclosed, although Marketwatch did report that Rakuten said it would recognize about $365.6 million in profit from the sale when it is finalized next quarter.
FYI: KKR also owns RB Digital, aka Recorded Books, the audiobook and ebook distributor.
It is difficult to say what this means, given that we know neither the motivation nor the price. But I for one plan to keep an eye on goings on at Kobo, just in case it is the next to go.