Ex Libris bought by New York private equity firm

Leeds Equity Partners focuses on investments in the knowledge industry.

It took just two years for private equity firm Francisco Partners to make a rich exit from Israeli library automation software developer Ex Libris Group. Yesterday, Francisco Partners announced that it was selling the company to another US private equity firm, Leeds Equity Partners, which specializes in education and the knowledge industry.

The value of the transaction was not disclosed, but it is estimated at $150-200 million. Francisco Partners bought Ex Libris in July 2006 for $60 million, so it has achieved a threefold return in two years.

“We have been following with great interest the evolution of Ex Libris and its continued success in performance, and have identified it as a leader in the library industry and an excellent investment,” said Robert Bernstein, co-founder of Leeds Equity Partners.

Bernstein expressed confidence in the current management of Ex Libris. “Ex Libris is headed by a strong executive management team guided by a solid short- and long-term product strategy." He added that Leeds Equity will accompany Ex Libris Group in the continued development of the company.

Jerusalem-based Ex Libris's software helps academic, national, and research libraries to maximize productivity and efficiency, and allows users to discover and obtain the information they need. Ex Libris has a customer base consisting of thousands of sites in more than 70 countries.

“Ex Libris is pleased to become a Leeds Equity portfolio company,” said Ex Libris president and CEO Matti Shem Tov. “The financial and industry strength that Leeds brings to the company will be invaluable in our continued growth - technological and global.

"Whereas the Ex Libris corporate structure will remain unaltered, this change in ownership will provide Ex Libris with additional resources for accelerating our current and future product strategies and our plans for international expansion.”

Leeds Equity Partners claims to manage the largest private equity fund in the United States focused on investments in the education, training and related business services and information industries. Leeds Equity terms its investment sector the “knowledge industries”.

The firm was founded in 1993 by Jeffrey T. Leeds and Robert A. Bernstein. Before founding the firm, both Leeds and Bernstein spent several years in the mergers and acquisitions department at Lazard Frères & Co.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 6, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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