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Encyclopaedia Britannica seeking US$1 billion valuation in IPO

Bloomberg • 2 min read
Encyclopaedia Britannica seeking US$1 billion valuation in IPO
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Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc, the education technology company and publisher of books including the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is seeking a valuation of about US$1 billion its initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Chicago-based company known for its historic namesake encyclopedia is working with advisers and may launch the offering as soon as June, the people said. Britannica announced in January it had filed confidentially for an IPO, according to a press release.

Deliberations are ongoing and details of the listing such as the valuation and timing could change, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Representatives for Britannica didn’t respond to requests for comment.

An IPO would end Britannica’s quest to go public stretching back at least two years, as first-time share sales entered a subdued period. The company was weighing an IPO and considering raising private capital ahead of the listing, Bloomberg News reported in 2022.

Founded more than 250 years ago, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is the oldest English-language general encyclopedia, according to the entry on its website. The publisher, purchased in 1996 by investor Jacob E. Safra, has pivoted in recent years from print encyclopedias into digital editions and online learning. Its subsidiaries include Britannica Education and Melingo AI, an artificial intelligence-powered natural language processing platform used in language learning and dictionaries. 

Britannica’s products have over 7 billion page views annually and are used by more than 150 million students, the website shows. CEO Jorge Cauz said in an interview in September 2022 the company would have revenue that year approaching US$100 million.

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