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Willis Stein & Partners To Sell Baker & Taylor For Approximately $455 Million
Willis Stein & Partners( 05/11/2006 )

Chicago, May 11, 2006 - Willis Stein & Partners, a leading Chicago-based private investment firm, today announced the sale of Baker & Taylor, a Willis Stein portfolio company and the leading distributor of books, video, music and electronic games products to the global institutional (library) and retail markets, to a company organized by a private-equity investment fund organized and managed by Castle Harlan, Inc. The transaction is valued at approximately $455 million.

Daniel Blumenthal, Managing Partner of Willis Stein & Partners, commented, "Baker & Taylor is a very successful investment for our firm.  Working closely with management, we were able to build on the outstanding Baker & Taylor legacy by improving and streamlining the company's overall operations, delivering new and innovative products and services to customers, and gaining market share through organic growth and strategic acquisitions."

Founded in 1828, Charlotte-based Baker & Taylor was acquired by Willis Stein & Partners in July 2003. Under the leadership of Willis Stein and Richard Willis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baker & Taylor, the company embarked on a successful growth and expansion program.  Today, Baker & Taylor works closely with many of the country's leading traditional and Internet retailers as well as thousands of libraries, educational institutions, and independent book, music and video stores. 

Consummation of the sale would be contingent upon satisfaction of customary legal and business conditions.              

About Baker & Taylor

Baker & Taylor is based in Charlotte, North Carolina and is ranked in top 200 U.S. private companies by Forbes magazine.  It serves customers in 98 countries around the world and has 6 distribution facilities strategically located throughout the country.    

About Willis Stein & Partners

Willis Stein & Partners is a leading Chicago-based private equity firm that focuses on investments in profitable, well-managed and growing businesses in the manufacturing, consumer products and services, business services, media and publishing and health care industries. The principals of Willis Stein have made investments in more than 50 companies and manage approximately $3 billion in equity capital. For more information, please visit
www.willisstein.com.  

Media Contact:
For Willis Stein
Joe LoBelloBrainerd Communicators, Inc.
212-986-6667
lobello@braincomm.com 

Daniel Blumenthal
Willis Stein & Partners
312-422-2410
dblumenthal@willisstein.com
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