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July 05, 2006 - Castle Harlan Completes Purchase of Baker & Taylor, Leading Distributor of Books to Libraries and Stores

NEW YORK, July 5, 2006 - Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York-based private equity firm, announced today it has completed the acquisition of Baker & Taylor, a leading global distributor of books and entertainment products to libraries and retailers. The value of the transaction was approximately $455 million.


Baker & Taylor, founded in 1828 and based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was acquired for Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P., a $1.2-billion limited partnership that closed in August 2003. The seller was Willis Stein & Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago.


The company is the leading distributor of books, video and music products to public and academic libraries throughout the world, serving customers in more than 125 countries. It is also a leader in distributing books and entertainment products to major retailers worldwide, including Internet retailers, as well as independent book, music and video stores.


Gary Appel, Castle Harlan vice chairman who led the transaction team, noted the company's strong and consistent pattern of growth, especially in its "premier library-based business and the increasingly important direct-to-home distribution for Internet retailers."


"Both are service areas that management expects will continue to show solid gains in the years ahead," Appel said.


Appel said that the "experienced and effective management team," headed by Richard Willis, president and chief executive officer, will remain in place and continue to hold an ownership stake in the company.


Castle Harlan invests in controlling interests in the buyout and development of middle-market companies in North America and Europe. Its team of 10 managing directors has completed 45 acquisitions since its inception with a total value in excess of $8.7 billion. The firm traces its roots to the start of the institutionalized private-equity business in the late 1960s.


Castle Harlan's current portfolio companies, which employ more than 42,000 people, include Ames True Temper, a leading manufacturer of lawn and garden tools and accessories; RathGibson, Inc., a leading manufacturer of highly engineered premium stainless steel and alloy welded tubing products, and Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, the operator and franchisor of 480 family restaurants.

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