Civica, a large international information technology services firm that provides products for a wide range of local government services, including library automation, recently changed ownership. Civica has been under ownership of 3i since April 2008 (see “Civica Transitions to Private Equity” Smart Libraries Newsletter, June 2008), bringing the company under ownership of a large private equity firm following a period of public ownership, traded on the London-based AIM (Alternative Investment Market). OMERS Private Equity, with investment capital of over $6 billion acquired Civica from 3i Group Plc. in a transaction valued at about £390 million. The company reports that it does not anticipate major changes in its executive management or in its operations as a result of this transition.
Civica includes the Civica Library and Learning business unit that provides software and services to libraries and educational institutions. Its major projects include the Spydus integrated library system, the Sorcer portal product, a digital asset management system called Blis, the VLTreck learning management platform. The company also offers outsourcing services to libraries, with the Singapore Department of Education as a major client. Across all its operating units, Civica employs over 2,000; Civica Library and Learning reports a total of 425, many of which work in libraries through its outsourcing contracts.
Most of the large library technology providers are owned by private equity firms:
- Civica Library and Learning: OMERS Private Equity (Since 2013)
- SirsiDynix: Vista Equity Partners (Since 2006)
- Innovative Interfaces, Inc: JMI Equity and HGCG (2012)
- Ex Libris Group: Golden Gate Capital (2012)
- Infor Library Services: Golden Gate Capital (2006)
- Bibliotheca: One Equity Partners (2011)
Library automation companies remaining under ownership by founders or employees include Polaris Library Systems, VTLS, Axiell Group, Follett Corporation, and the Library Corporation. Auto-Graphics is the only public company in the library automation industry, operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Agent Information Software, Inc. (AIFS).