BDC Capital and CIBC back recap of De Marque with $5M funding

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By CPE News

CPE News (10/7/2020) – BDC Capital Growth & Transition Capital and CIBC have provided $5 million in debt financing De Marque, a leader in digital content distribution.

The financing was part of the recapitalization of De Marque.

Marc Boutet becomes the majority shareholder of De Marque and solidifies his long-term partnership with Madrigall, which owns Gallimard and Flammarion (among others), and Média-Participations Paris, whose portfolio includes Fleurus, Dargaud and Dupuis, and Eden Livres. The company bought out of eight shareholders including co-founder Guy Bergeron.

photo credit: De Marque (Marc Boutet)

News Release

De Marque raises $5 million to solidify its position as a global leader

Quebec City, October 7, 2020 – De Marque, a leader in digital content distribution, announces the closing of a $5 million financing transaction with BDC Capital’s Growth & Transition Capital division and the CIBC to consolidate its global leadership position.

The context of the global health crisis created winning opportunities for the company. The agreement concluded with BDC Capital and the CIBC allows De Marque to gain the best financial tools to support and accelerate its growth plan.

“De Marque is positioned to maximize its development over the next few years, whether by acquiring new geographic markets, increasing our presence in the education sector or by catalyzing our Aldiko brand with the general public,” said Marc Boutet, President of the company.

Charles Blouin, Director, Technologies Group, Growth and Transition Capital at BDC Capital’s Quebec City office, believes that with its high-calibre management team and a business model that was ready for the current pandemic, the company is well-positioned to achieve its ambitions.

“De Marque is already the world leader in French and Spanish ebook distribution platforms. Now, it is carefully preparing to expand its presence into other markets, notably the United States. The customized financing we provided in collaboration with CIBC is designed to meet the requirements of rapid growth in the context of share transfers,” added Mr. Blouin.

Over the past few years, De Marque has made several acquisitions including the digital activities of book distributor Prologue, Archambault’s MaBiblioNumérique e-lending service, Spanish ebook distributor Libranda, and more recently, French online bookstore Feedbooks and the Aldiko mobile reading application.

With millions of people confined for multiple weeks both here and around the world, consumers, businesses and institutions needed to rapidly change their consumer habits at all levels, with reading in particular.

In this context, De Marque’s positioning as a leader in its sector has translated into a significant 35% increase in ebook sales to the general public and a 31% increase for audiobooks over the last nine months, compared to the same period the previous year.

“Since then, we have observed a strong and ongoing trend in reading, as ebook sales have increased by 25-30% per week compared to pre-confinement, ” added Mr. Boutet.

David Bouchard, Director and Team Leader, and Guillaume Parent, Director at CIBC Commercial Banking are proud to support De Marque in its development. “It is with great enthusiasm that the CIBC supports De Marque in achieving its ambitions and full potential in future projects,” said Mr. Bouchard. “Its experienced management team can count on us to increase its position as a global leader in digital content distribution.”

In addition to opening the door to growth opportunities, the financing agreement has proven to be an opportunity to consolidate the shareholder base. As a result, Marc Boutet becomes the majority shareholder of De Marque and solidifies his long-term partnership with Madrigall, which owns Gallimard and Flammarion (among others) Média-Participations, whose portfolio includes Fleurus, Dargaud and Dupuis, and Eden Livres, a subsidiary of Madrigall, Média-Participations and Actes Sud. The company acquires eight shareholders, including the shares of co-founder Guy Bergeron.

“We are pleased to consolidate both our shareholder and technical partnerships with De Marque. They have been a key ally for our development in digital publishing and distribution for ten years now, serving authors, readers and the entire book industry,” commented Alban Cerisier, General Secretary of Madrigall and President of Eden Livres.

“De Marque is a valuable partner not only for our own publishing houses but also for all French-language literature, helping it to grow and shine worldwide. This is an important alliance that we will rely on more and more to accelerate the development of our digital sales,” said Claude de Saint Vincent, President of Média-Participations.

“I am delighted to be able to not only count on the collaboration of these renowned publishing houses for the upcoming years but also on the continued support of the ANEL and Quebec-based publishers, with whom we recently reaffirmed our indispensable association, as well as all our long-standing international partners. I would also like to express my gratitude and highlight the support of my co-founder, Guy Bergeron, and the other major shareholders who have greatly contributed to De Marque over the years,” concluded Marc Boutet.

De Marque is a leader in the distribution of digital cultural content, principally ebooks. Based in Quebec City, the company now distributes over 1.4 million ebooks marketed by more than 2,300 publishers in over 1,300 points of sale around the world. The company has also developed Cantook Station, an e-lending solution available in public libraries across Canada and Europe. It is this same technology that powers the PRETNUMERIQUE.CA service in Quebec, which has served nearly 12 million loans to date.

CIBC is a leading North American-based global financial institution with 10 million personal and business customers, including institutional and public sector clients. Through Personal and Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets, CIBC provides a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network and locations across Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

BDC Capital is the investment division of BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. With more than $3 billion under management, BDC Capital is a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative companies. It offers a full range of capital and financing for both start-up and transitional businesses. BDC Capital supports Canadian entrepreneurs who want to make a difference on the world stage.