Case Study: Author Solutions, Inc.

Bertram Capital employed The Bertram Capital High 5sm to build one of the leading providers of independent publishing services.

Company Overview

Author Solutions has enabled more than 140,000 authors to achieve their publishing goals by self-publishing, promoting, and distributing over 170,000 new titles.

Acquired:

January 2007

Exited:

July 2012 through a sale to Pearson (NYSE: PSO) in a process run by Stephens, Inc.

Transaction Overview

Bertram Capital acquired Bloomington, IN-based Author Solutions, Inc in January 2007 and quickly acquired iUniverse as its first add-on acquisition in October of 2007. After integrating iUniverse, the company then completed the acquisitions of Xlibris and Trafford in 2009. Beginning with a platform investment in a business with approximately $25 million in trailing revenue, Bertram Capital applied its growth-focused approach of strategic acquisitions, aggressive business development and internal operational improvements to expand the business more than 4x over its ownership period.

Bertram Capital worked with the ASI team to expand its product and service offering to more than eight international markets, developed key partnerships with traditional publishers and initiated a number of new proprietary service offerings. Bertram successfully transformed the business from a small player in a fragmented market into the world’s leading independent publisher. Some examples of The Bertram Capital High 5sm at work include:

Results: 16% Organic Sales CAGR 2007-2012E

Based on pro forma sales and 2012 estimated sales

Strategic Partnerships: Thomas Nelson, LifeWay, Hay House
Product Extension: Book Trailers, Hollywood Pitchfest
Results:
  • Grew the business over 4x during Bertram’s ownership
  • Achieved goal of a strategic sale when Pearson acquired ASI for $116 million
  • Bertram Capital’s sale of ASI represented the firm’s third exit from its inaugural fund
Transaction Partner Comments:

“The Bertram Capital team successfully executed on a bold vision to create the world’s leading independent publishing company. Through acquisitions, technological innovation and strategic partnerships, Bertram and ASI’s management transformed a low-growth, breakeven business into a fast-growing market innovator that ultimately attracted the attention of a major strategic player in Pearson.  It was a pleasure working with the Bertram Capital team to help them realize a fantastic outcome in the sale of ASI and we anticipate continued growth and success for the Company under the Pearson umbrella.”

Ken Wasik, Managing Director, Stephens Inc. (Managed the sale of ASI to Pearson)

“It has been a privilege to work in partnership with Bertram Capital to create a true market leader and innovator. Bertram’s business-building approach, their guidance, and their expertise provided the tools for the ASI team to bring the self-publishing market into mainstream publishing. We’ve had an exciting journey as part of the Bertram Capital family and have truly benefitted from our partnership with the Bertram team.  We look forward to continued growth as part of Pearson where we’ll have an even broader platform and the ability to offer more opportunities for authors and greater choice for readers.”

Kevin Weiss, CEO of ASI.