ProQuest acquires Israeli company Ex Libris for $500 million
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Photo Credit: Ex Libris

The startup has emerged as a leader in the library information services industry

Ex Libris, an Israeli company that automates library information, has been acquired for $500 million by Ann Arbor-based ProQuest, a research information solutions provider. The acquisition will combine the two companies’ services and makes Ex Libris an arm of its new parent company. Ex Libris CEO Matti Shem-Tov will stay on as the head of the new branch of ProQuest.

The two companies touted complementary services in a joint press release and said they would continue existing partnerships with OCLC, Google, Gale Cengage, HARRASSOWITZ and YBP/EBSCO. According to the companies, little will change as a result of the merger, though Ex Libris will adopt ProQuest’s workflow solution and ProQuest will expand into library services. The two firms were also competitors in the field of local and open resource discovery, with ProQuest offering Summon and Ex Libris offering Primo.

Ex Libris was on a roll before the acquistion

Ex Libris’ growth has allowed it to develop new products and to make some acquisitions itself. This past April, the company bought oMbiel for as much as $10 million, a UK-based SaaS provider of mobile apps for higher education. The company also recently released course information app Leganto and is working on app campusM that organizes information about events and courses on campus.

The startup has emerged as a leader in the library information services industry, which people surprisingly keep track of. Research company Technavio recently projected the library automation industry would grow 3.8% between 2014 and 2019. One 2014 report cites growth in the workforce at a number of companies including Ex Libris. While companies like Innovative and SirsiDynix (which was recently acquired) are known to focus on international markets like Ex Libris, neither are as prominent.

Ex Libris has been the beneficiary of sales before, being bought out by its investor Golden Gate Capital for $250 million in 2012. The company was originally founded by Hebrew University in the 1980s and subsequently sold by the school and two other VCs in the mid-2000s before being sold to Francisco Partners for $62 million.

The company employs over 500 workers in Israel and touts 5,600 customers in 90 countries. The company claims to service 43 of the world’s top 50 universities and over 40 national libraries.

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