Thursday, February 07, 2013

Najafi Companies Sells Off Direct Brands

PW - 6 February

Four-and-half years after acquiring Bookspan and Columbia House from Bertelsmann, the Najafi Companies has sold its majority interest in those businesses’ parent company, Direct Brands, to Pride Tree Holdings. In its announcement, Najafi Cos. said the deal was done in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Last week, Najafi Companies announced it was backing Resolution, a talent and literary agency headed by former ICM chief Jeff Berg. It has also recently acquired Cinram International, the producer and distributor of multimedia products. "We continue to seek partnership opportunities with world-class management teams and companies to complement our content and digital build-out on a global basis," said Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Companies. The company also made a failed bid in 2011 to acquire several hundred Borders' stores when its offer was blocked by the creditors' committee.

Najafi Companies bought Bookspan in 2008 as the company was struggling to remain profitable, and viable, in market where book clubs were losing customers at a rapid clip to Amazon and other online retailers and then to e-books. Bookspan still operates Book-of-the Month Club, Doubleday Book Club and some specialty clubs, but the operation has been steadily downsized in recent years.
Little is known about the new owner of Direct Brands, Pride Tree Holdings.

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