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Acquisitions: A Busy Time
Jim Milliot -- 7/6/98
The acquisition wheel continued to turn in the publishing industry in June as a number of companies announced deals late last month.
Harcourt Brace acquired Morgan Kaufmann Publishers for $8.9 million in cash plus an additional $2.4 million if certain financial targets are met. Based in San Francisco, the 14-year-old company specializes in the publishing of computer science books for the professional and college markets and has annual sales of more than $7 million.

Morgan Kaufmann will join HB's Academic Press subsidiary, and its staff will remain in California. HB will combine its Academic Press Professional imprint with Morgan Kaufmann and MK president Michael Morgan will lead the combined operation. The new group's titles will be sold to the academic marketplace by MK's in-house colleges sales staff, to the retail and library channels by the Academic Press retail and library sales staff and internationally by HB's international division.

Over at Addison Wesley Longman, the company agreed to acquire Peregrine Inc., a Web educational publisher based in Wakefield, Mass. Peregrine provides subscription Web services for college and secondary science teachers and students containing original content that can be integrated in curricula or used in independent study. Jim Behnke, former head of AWL's higher-education group who left the company in 1995 to begin Peregrine, will continue to direct the operation and has been named v-p, director of media at AWL's higher-education group.

In a deal that involved 32 titles, Cambridge University Press acquired the English-as-a-Second-Language program from St. Martin's. Robert Biewen, chairman of the St. Martin's college group, said the small list did not fit with the company's overall strategic plan. Cambridge, which already has an extensive ESL line, is in the process of integrating the St. Martin's titles with its own list.

J Berkery, head of Berkery, Noyes, cited a number of factors behind the spate of deals. According to Berkery, as publishers become larger they look to fill out particular niches where they previously had no presence. Berkery also pointed out that there is "lots of money available" for acquisitions, including money from venture capitalists, and that there is a good mix of interested buyers and sellers.
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