E-Book Vendor Aptara Acquired by iEnergizer for $144 Million

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By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

E-book conversion and distribution company Aptara was acquired by UK-based business process outsourcing company iEnergizer for $144 million. The move may signal the beginning of vendor consolidation in the U.S. book-technology industry.

Aptara will be operated as an independent subsidiary of iEnergizer, a publicly traded company in the UK that performs back-office operations and operates call centers in India and Mauritius for its clients. The combined company will have 11,000 employees around the world – 5,000 from Aptara and 6,000 from iEnergizer. There will be no layoffs at either company, said Aptara CEO Dev Ganesan, as the impetus for the acquisition is top-line synergies, like cross-selling to each others’ clients.

“This is all about one plus one equals three,” said Ganesan. “We are going to be bringing some of their [iEnergizer’s] high-end call services and high-end processing capabilities to publishers” and Aptara’s e-book conversion and processing services, for instance, will be offered to iEnergizer’s clients, which include companies across a diverse array of sectors, including telecom, media and banking.

According to Ganesan, Aptara, which hired nearly 1,000 people last year, will be hiring another 1,000 in the next 12 months – mostly those with skills in XML and in e-book creation and mostly in India, where Aptara has the bulk of its workforce.

Aptara will also be on the hunt for acquisitions.

“This is going to give us a platform to make some strategic acquisitions,” said Ganesan.

Sources in the investment banking community who do not wish to be named have told Digital Book World that in the coming years, vendor consolidation is likely in the digital book space. Everything from small e-book conversion companies, app-building companies and social reading start-ups, for instance, are all possible targets.

Jefferies Group Inc., a New York-based boutique investment bank, acted as sell-side financial advisor to Aptara on the acquisition.

Management at both companies will remain intact. Sara Latham, iEnergizer’s chairman of the board, and Anil Agarwal, the company’s founder, will join Aptara’s board of directors.

Write to Jeremy Greenfield

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