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Tribune Makes Two Acquisitions
Jim Milliot -- 8/10/98
Tribune Company continued its aggressive expansion into the educational market last week with its acquisitions of Living &Learning Ltd. and Keats Publishing Inc.
Based in Cambridge, England, Living &Learning produces curriculum materials for the school market in the U.K., and creates educational toys, foreign-language materials and educational materials for the consumer market in the U.K. and continental Europe. Among L&L's offerings are special-education products, a new channel for Tribune's education publishing group. Baxter Brings, president of Ideal/Instructional Fair Publishing Group, said the company will use the Living &Learning brand as the imprint for its educational toys.

L&L will operate as a unit of Ideal, and the agreement will allow Ideal to market L&L's products in the U.S., while L&L will market Ideal's materials in the U.K. Simon Lyne, managing director of L&L, will continue to run the company from its Cambridge offices and will report to Brings. L&L's U.S. distribution subsidiary, currently located in Bethlehem, Pa., will be consolidated into Ideal's offices in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Keats Publishing, meanwhile, has been made part of Tribune's NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group. Founded in 1971, Keats specializes in health, nutrition and alternative medicine, and has a backlist of more than 350 titles. Sales are estimated at $4 million.

Keats's operations will remain in New Canaan, Conn., and its editorial functions will report to Jack Artenstein, head of the recently acquired Lowell House. NTC president Mark Pattis said Keats fits well with NTC's strategy to acquire companies that complement its existing operations. He also noted that all NTC publishers will be able to benefit from Keats's strong distribution among natural foods and health products retailers.

Acquisitions continued to fuel Tribune's education group's growth in the second quarter. Sales in the period rose 44%, to $85.6 million, while operating profit increased 16%, to $13.3 million. The gains were mainly due to the December 1997 purchase of Landoll, which had a strong second quarter. Excluding acquisitions, the education group's operating profit rose 3% and revenues were up 6%. For the first half of 1998, operating profit in the education group increased 12%, to $12.6 million on a revenue gain of 50%, to $145.5 million.
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