Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/31/2010

Publisher Lulu Plans IPO to Raise C$50-C$70 Million

Filed under: IPO,Lulu,self-publishing — gator1965 @ 2:16 pm

Pav Jordan, writing for Reuters, has announced the proposed expansion of the popular self-publisher: Lulu…This is an interesting turn of events for talented but non-celebrity writers that have been abused and outright ignored by traditional publishing houses over the past 40 years or so (longer than this writer wants to remember!)…Could this be another reason for the growth of digital publishing…ignored writers seeking publication through non-traditional means ?

Pav Jordan says:
Lulu Ltd, a company that helps authors get books into print via the Internet, plans to raise as much as C$70 million ($69 million) in an initial public offering in coming weeks as it targets wider distribution and new products.

“We believe that our open publishing model has significant growth potential. We believe we have an opportunity to create a new market and reach new content creators and buyers,” the company said in a prospectus filed to SEDAR, the Canadian document filing system for companies.

Lulu.com allows authors to publish their work themselves, and to receive an 80 percent cut on any profits. Authors, including businesses and publishers, can submit manuscripts ready for publication or can hire Lulu’s services for consultation.

The model is not entirely new to founder Bob Young, the Canadian co-creator of the hugely successful open-source software firm Red Hat, which rose to become a Fortune 500 company and major rival to Microsoft.

Lulu, which sells authors’ books on demand, individually or in bulk, sold 2.64 million books in 2009, up from 2.3 million in 2008 and 1.76 million in 2007.

The company sees itself as a direct challenge to traditional publishing channels that favor best-sellers that need to sell thousands of copies to turn a profit.

Life is returning to Canadian capital markets as the global economy stabilizes and fears of a double-dip recession fade.

But market conditions are demanding, and investors are seen rewarding only the most attractive issues, like the IPO planned by Athabasca Oil Sands Corp for close to C$1 billion.

The Lulu offering is being led by Genuity Capital Markets and CIBC World Markets Inc (CM.TO) and is seen raising between C$50 million and C$70 million.

A spokesman reached at Lulu.com declined to comment beyond the contents of its public filing. Bankers were not available for comment either.

About 35 percent of the proceeds are to go to pay down more than C$19 million in debt, according to the prospectus.

About 25 percent of the proceeds are to be used to expand distribution and sales and marketing activities, and to attract more content. Another 25 percent will be used to add new products, features and functionality in order to broaden market appeal. (Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Rob Wilson)

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