January 19, 2022

HighWire Press Becoming Standalone Biz: Private Equity Firm Accel-KKR Will Own Majority Interest, Stanford Will Have Minority Position

Update: Along with the news below Highwire Press has just launched a redesigned homepage with a new URL. The “old” homepage URL (highwire.stanford.edu) will automatically redirect to you to the “new” one (home.highwire.org).

Just in. Stanford U./Stanford University Libraries will no longer be in control of the HighWire Press business. HighWire Press, Inc. will be the formal name of the new standalone company and Accel-KKR will have a majority interest in it.

Here’s the Full Text of the Announcement:

HighWire Press an auxiliary unit of Stanford University Libraries, announced today it has received a significant equity investment to support its strategic growth from Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. The new partnership enables HighWire to further its investment in strategic initiatives and digital innovations in Internet-based publishing.

[Our emphasis] The investment from Accel-KKR will enable the business HighWire Press, Incorporated to operate as a stand-alone enterprise. Accel-KKR will own a majority interest of the company and Stanford University will maintain a significant minority stake. Michael A. Keller, university librarian at Stanford, will serve as the Stanford representative on the HighWire Press, Incorporated board of directors. 

HighWire was founded in 1995 under the leadership of Keller, to ensure its partners – academic societies and independent publishers – would remain strong and able to lead the transition toward use of new technologies for scholarly communication.
Known for combining cutting-edge technology with long-term organizational stability in support of its community-oriented mission and model, HighWire facilitates the development, dissemination and discovery of nearly four thousand prominent journals, books, and other scholarly works online, as well as a manuscript submission, tracking, and peer review system for journal editors.

Keller explained how the tradition of customer service, constant innovation, and careful fostering of a dynamic scholarly community will remain the charge of HighWire Press, Incorporated. Accel-KKR and Stanford Libraries have been working closely to ensure a smooth transition and a commitment to HighWire’s core mission. Current general manager Tom Rump will continue to lead the organization as CEO of HighWire Press, Incorporated.

“By partnering with Accel-KKR, HighWire will have the opportunity to leverage new resources to achieve an even greater impact on the delivery of scholarly information and thus on the rate of discovery of knowledge,” said Keller. “In order to continue to expand our rapid response to technological developments and the growing needs of our customers, an influx of new capital was necessary.”

“The HighWire team has built an outstanding business,” said Ben Bisconti, Managing Director at Accel-KKR. “ The team, their customers and the technology platform are world class. We are excited about partnering with Stanford to continue supporting Tom and the rest of the HighWire team as they focus on delivering market leading solutions to their customers.”

“This is an exciting development in HighWire’s evolution, enabling our further investment in technology and publisher solutions,” said Rump. “Our management team and staff are looking forward to the future possibilities that will open to us with this capital infusion.”

HighWire Press, Incorporated will continue to operate out of its headquarters office in Redwood City, California, as well as its satellite offices on the East Coast and in the United Kingdom.

We will update this post with more info and reaction if/when it becomes available. 

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.