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KKR investment firm to buy OverDrive, biggest library ebook company

TeleRead – David Rothman – “Toxic for libraries? The KKR investment firm is buying none other than OverDrive—the biggest library ebook company, providing ebooks and audiobooks to 43,000+ libraries and schools in 75 countries. The seller is Rakuten, also owner of the Kobo ereader, audiobook and ebook business. “The two sides did not provide a price tag for the Ohio-based property, which Rakuten purchased for $410 million in 2015,” MarketWatch reports, “but Rakuten said it would recognize about $365.6 million in profit from the sale in the first quarter of 2020.” Investment firms have been poison to the newspaper business, including the shrunken newspaper in Ohio, where I once worked. The Morning Journal in Lorain must now operate out of a former McDonald’s hamburger stand. Newspapers have been in trouble for other reasons, and the buyer of my old paper was not KKR. Just the same, this illustrates the risks of expecting profit-crazed investment companies to care about the public…”

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