Francisco Partners has sold Ex Libris Group to Leeds Equity, another private equity firm. Leeds, based in New York, manages investments over $4.1 billion. The firm specializes in companies in the educational sector. Other companies in its portfolio include Campus Management, EduK Group, Education Management, and eInstruction Corporation. The acquisition of Ex Libris marks Leeds' initial foray into the library automation industry.
Francisco Partners gained ownership of Ex Libris in July 2006, acquiring the company from its previous owners that included Israel-based venture capital firms Tamar Technologies and Walden Israel, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and current and previous executives and directors. During its tenure, Francisco Partners expanded Ex Libris Group significantly through the purchase of Endeavor Information Systems from Elsevier which was subsequently folded into the company. The consolidation of Ex Libris and Endeavor produced the largest company in the library automation industry focused on academic and research libraries. Israel–based Ex Libris has a customer base that includes many different regions of the world.
Ex Libris has followed an ambitious development agenda. Since 2006 the company has focused on the Primo discovery and delivery platform which has now been purchased by about 100 library organizations. More recently the company has announced its Open Platform Program, developing and documenting application programming interfaces that provide increased customer access to the data and functionality of its core systems. Current development involves the creation of a Universal Resource Management system–an automation platform designed to address all forms of library content, spanning print and electronic. While under the ownership of Francisco Partners, Ex Libris followed a business strategy that included ongoing development of both its own ALEPH 500 product and the Voyager product it gained through the Endeavor acquisition. Both systems have seen new major releases during this period. This strategy of parallel development investments contrasts with the more aggressive approach of SirsiDynix to move to a single core automation platform following a similar merger of competing businesses.
The existing management team of Ex Libris Group will remain in place as the company gains new ownership. Matti Shem Tov will continue as the President and CEO of the global company. The change in ownership coincides with the appointment of a new president of the company's North America operation.
A New President of Ex Libris North America
The North American division of Ex Libris Group gains new leadership as Carl Grant returns as President. Grant previously held this position from December 1998 through March 2003. During Grant's earlier tenure, Ex Libris grew its presence in North America from a small handful of libraries to one of the dominant suppliers of automation software to academic and research libraries.
An industry veteran, Grant has held major leadership positions in several companies that provide automation software to libraries. He left Ex Libris in March 2003 to become President and Chief Operating Officer of VTLS, a position that he held through February 2007. Grant served as Vice President of Data Research Associates from 1983 through April 1997 and as Vice President Sales and Marketing of Sales and Marketing at Innovative Interfaces from April 1997 through Dec 1998.
|Name||Began||Ended||Carl Grant||Dec 1998||Mar 2003|
|Dan Trajman||Mar 2004||May 2007|
|Rob Mercer||May 2007||Jul 2008|
|Cark Grant||Jul 2008||present|