Bookwitty, Keeward, and Levant merge. MedSecurities to raise $20 million - Lebanon

Bookwitty, Keeward,
and Levant merge
MedSecurities to raise $20 million
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Bookwitty, a global, multilingual book retail platform, Keeward, a digital production company, and Levant Distributors, an international book and press distributor, will form one company, yet to be named. The Keeward Group Holding will be the parent company. MedSecurities Investment, a brokerage arm of Bankmed, is mandated to raise $20 million in a private placement for the combined group. The new funds will help the company to expand to six new countries across Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The merged group's projected revenue in 2016 is expected to be $65 million. This is expected to increase closer to $100 million in 2017.

Cyril Hadji-Thomas, CEO of Bookwitty, which built its international logistics network from New York, London, Paris, and Beirut simultaneously, said: "By merging we are further solidifying our ability to build a strong international network of partners: From publishers to bookstores, and from niche bloggers to media groups."

Following a $1 million funding round in 2014, Bookwitty raised $4 million in 331-compliant funding in 2015 from IMPACT/MEVP. Earlier this year LEAP Ventures invested $10 million in the business as the lead of a $30 million capital raise at Keeward Group Holding level.

MedSecurities Investment has now been mandated to raise $20 million in a private placement for the combined group. The upcoming fundraising round will also take place at the Keeward Group Holding level.

Hadji-Thomas said the latest funds will be used toward growth. The group is expanding to Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Morocco.

"We have increased our headcount by 30 percent in 2016. We are processing between 10,000 and 25,000 books on a daily basis. Our turnover should be over $100 million in 2017. We need that money to support this rapid expansion and continue to grow by more than 50 percent every year," he said.

Bookwitty is mainly a business-to-customer (B2C) entity, and the Levant, and Keeward are both business-to-business (B2B). Hadji-Thomas said that the customer base is unaffected by the merger.

"Their activities are complementary. The interests of the three companies are more aligned than ever, and this will allow the B2B side to service the B2C side in a more impactful and scalable way," he said.

Reported by Derek A. Issacs
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Date Posted: Dec 14, 2016