Baker & Taylor, Inc. announced today the purchase of the company by Willis Stein & Partners from The Carlyle Group for $255 million.
Willis Stein & Partners is a leading private equity investment firm specializing in investments in profitable, well-managed, and growing businesses targeting the consumer products and services, media, telecommunications, business services, manufacturing, and health care industries. The principals of Willis Stein have made investments in more than 40 companies and currently manage approximately $3.0 billion of equity capital.
The Carlyle Group acquired Baker & Taylor from W.R. Grace & Co. in 1992. Baker & Taylor enjoyed significant growth and improved operating performance during the period Carlyle owned the company.
"We are excited about this next stage in the 175-year history of Baker & Taylor," commented Jim Ulsamer, President of Retail. "Willis Stein made the investment in Baker & Taylor because of our excellent position in diverse markets, strong operating performance during challenging economic times, and most importantly, the opportunity to significantly grow and improve the business."
Gary Rautenstrauch, Baker & Taylor's CEO and President told employees today that at the sale's closing, Willis Stein will appoint Richard Willis as the new CEO and President. Richard Willis brings more than 20 years of experience in the media and manufacturing industries. Mr. Rautenstrauch will remain involved with the company through the transition.
Baker & Taylor, Inc., based in Charlotte, NC, is a global company that offers books, video, music and services to traditional and Internet retailers, libraries and educational institutions.