The rest of the country may be preoccupied with the war up north, in one form or another, but Israel's hi-tech sector has a life of its own. Today Ex Libris was sold to a private investment fund, Francisco Partners, for $62 million.
The Ex Libris shareholders withdrew a $10 million dividend, hence their actual income from the deal is $72 million.
The Walden venture capital fund owns 25% of the company, in which it invested $1.8 million early on. It later added another $3 million. The investments were carried out through two funds, Walden 2 and Walden 3. By virtue of holding Participating Preferred Shares, it gets its money back first and only then do other Ex Libris shareholders get their shares.
Walden will be selling 19.4 million shares to Menlo Park-based Francisco Partners, and is getting back four times its investment. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns 30% and will get $20.5 million.
Tamar Technology Partners invested $2.2 million and is getting $10.8 million.
Ex Libris was founded in 1983 to create library software management for the Hebrew University. Its main system is the Aleph 500, the latest version of the family of products Ex Libris developed in the 1980s.
These days the company has other products too, such as a portal for university libraries, and products to search for and manage digital information.
Ex Libris has 250 employees and has sold its wares to more than 1,500 clients worldwide. Seventy of the top 100 universities in the world use its wares, including Harvard and MIT. The British Library and the U.S. Congress library also use Ex Libris software.