AVL Digital Group -- the parent company of CD Baby, Disc Makers and other self-publishing platforms -- has been sold to Stephens Capital Partners, a private equity group based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Billboard.biz has learned.
Stephens Capital Partners acquired the 60% ownership share of AVL Digital Group New York-based Corinthian Capital had purchased in 2006, according to a source close to the deal. The deal closed on December 28 and is expected to be announced later today.
AVL Digital Group also includes artist-focused web hosting provider WebBaby, author-focused BookBaby and DVD manufacturer Oasis Disc Manufacturing. Portland-based CD Baby was acquired by Disc Makers in 2008 for $22 million. Stephens Capital Partners intends to leave AVL Digital Group companies in place, the source says.
The new owners get a collection of companies that capitalize on the growth in digital self-publishing. Digital distribution, sync licensing, social commerce and direct-to-fan sales channels give independent artists a chance to make money in ways that weren't possible just a few years ago.
While digital channels provide growth opportunities, the company's physical business has been stable, the source says. "Believe it or not, artists still need discs."