July 14, 2011 10:29 pm

Follett retains Credit Suisse to advise on sale process

This article is provided to FT.com readers by dealReporter—a news service focused on providing insightful intelligence on event driven situations to investors. www.dealreporter.com

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Follett Corporation, the private River Grove, Illinois-based educational publishing company, is in the midst of a sale process, two industry bankers told dealReporter.

It is not clear whether the company is selling one of its six divisions or the corporation as a whole, the bankers said. Follett did not respond to requests for comment.

Credit Suisse, which declined comment for this story, has been retained to advise Follett as it looks at options, one of the bankers said.

The company plans to hold management presentations at the end of July with potential suitors, the second banker said. He said he thought the company must have had an initial round with a “select group” of bidders. Follett generated USD 2.7bn in revenue last year, according to its website. The company appointed Chuck Follett acting CEO 12 months ago.

Before the CEO appointment, Follett headed the company’s Technology Solutions and International Group. In the past year, the company has split this division in two under the names “Follett International” and “Follett Software Company”. Its other divisions are the Higher Education Group, Library Resources, BWI (Book Wholesalers, Inc.) and Educational Services.

The Follett family still has a significant ownership in Follett Corporation, according to a third sector banker. Like other traditional publishers, Follett has been transitioning to a technology-focused model.

Potential buyers for education publishing assets are Pearson, which owns this news service, The McGraw Hill Companies and possibly News Corp, though it has expressed an interest in education technology companies as opposed to publishers, the banker said.

The second banker said he thought the company was more likely to be sold to private equity.

According to its website, Follett, which has made several acquisitions, is focused on e-commerce, digital offerings and text rental.

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