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Ripplewood, Zelnick Sell Media Unit—Daily Deal

03.1.05
Peter Lauria

Direct Holdings Worldwide, the retail company owned by Ripplewood Holdings LLC and ZelnickMedia Corp., has sold its Educational Technologies Ltd. group of companies to Times Publishing Ltd., according to a source with knowledge of the transaction.

Educational Technologies was part of Time Life Inc., the venerable book, music and video arm of Time Warner Inc. that Ripplewood and ZelnickMedia teamed up to acquire in January 2004.

According to the source, Educational Technologies contributed about $15 million of Time Life's more than $300 million in annual revenue. Times Publishing is acquiring the unit for $15 million.

Educational Technologies is the exclusive marketer of Time Life educational and language study products throughout Asia. The deal gives Times Publishing a long-term license to market those materials under the Time Life brand in Asia.

Direct Holdings, established to house Ripplewood's and ZelnickMedia's $60 million acquisition of catalog retailer Lillian Vernon Corp. in 2003, will continue to own exclusive rights to market all Time Life entertainment products. Among Time Life's entertainment assets are music compilations such as "Classic Country," "Songs 4 Worship" and "The Ultimate '70s Collection." Its video line includes "Best of" titles for "Ren & Stimpy," "The Muppet Show," "Beavis & Butt-head" and "Saturday Night Live."

ZelnickMedia's Andrew Vogel negotiated the deal's financial aspects for the sellers, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provided counsel.