Investor Group Acquires Arcadia Publishing / by David Lamb


Charleston, SC (May 2, 2018) – A newly formed investor group announced today the launch of a new book publishing venture with the acquisition of the nation’s leading publisher of local history and local interest, Arcadia Publishing, Inc. David Steinberger, previously CEO of Perseus Books, and before that a senior executive at HarperCollins and a Booz Allen strategist, will serve as CEO. Arcadia is the first in a series of planned book publisher acquisitions.

Arcadia’s longtime CEO, Richard Joseph, will continue to play a key role, both in his new position as senior advisor to the CEO and as an investor in the company going forward.

Founded in 1994, Arcadia is the publisher of an extraordinary backlist of 14,000 books of local history and local interest and is the home of the iconic sepia-jacketed Images of America series featuring unique hyper-local histories of countless hometowns across all fifty states. Through its History Press imprint, Arcadia publishes a range of other local and regional–themed series such as American Palate, which focuses on local food, beer and wine, and Haunted America, which retells stories of famous hauntings, one American city and town at a time. Arcadia publishes 500 new books of local interest and local history each year and sells its titles through an unusually diverse set of retailers. Using its proprietary Store Match process, Arcadia can build a highly customized hyper-local book assortment for any storefront in the nation.

The investor group is led by brother and sister Michael Lynton and Lili Lynton, who together established an investment vehicle, Lezen Acquisition LLC, to fund a series of book publishing acquisitions beginning with Arcadia. Michael Lynton, chairman of Snap, and previously CEO of Sony Entertainment and Penguin, will serve as Arcadia’s non-executive chairman. Lili Lynton previously co-founded the Dinex Group, which operates seventeen Daniel Boulud–branded restaurants, and Telebank, an internet banking pioneer sold to E*Trade, now operating as E*Bank. Lili and Michael have a long history of involvement with books, having established the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project, which has been recognizing outstanding works of nonfiction since the 1990s. Raised in the Netherlands, Lili and Michael chose the name Lezen, which, translated from Dutch, means “To read.”

“We see an overlooked opportunity to create value in the book industry by backing the right management team and building a unique publishing company through a series of targeted acquisitions,” said Arcadia’s new non-executive chairman Michael Lynton. “Today represents an important first step on this path.”

“This acquisition brings together all the elements you look for,” said Arcadia’s new CEO David Steinberger. “We have an investor group with vision and resources, and in Arcadia we have a unique and powerful growth platform—the leading publisher of regional, local and hyper-local books.”

“I see this as a dream succession scenario,” said former CEO Richard Joseph, now senior advisor to the CEO. “We are putting the company into the hands of people who care about books and are committed to building the business for the long term.”

Arcadia Publishing was represented in this transaction by David Lamb and Susan Reich of Book Advisors LLC and Jonathan Nowell of Jonathan Nowell & Co Ltd.

About Arcadia Publishing

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional books in the United States with a library of more than 14,000 titles. Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, it publishes a combined 500 books each year. By empowering history and culture enthusiasts to write local stories for local audiences, it creates exceptional books that are relevant on a local and personal level, enrich lives, and bring readers close to their community, their neighbors and their past.