Avalon Publishing Group, sister company of Publishers Group West, has agreed to acquire New York publisher Carroll &Graf in a deal that includes assuming responsibility for all assets and liabilities. Publisher Herman Graf and president Kent Carroll will remain in their respective positions, while acquiring equity in Publishers Group Inc., parent company of both Avalon and PGW. Susan Reich, COO of Avalon, will join the Carroll &Graf board. The deal is expected to be finalized in January 1999.

"I look upon this as a continuance, a merger of friends," said Graf. "This gives us more financial security, which is very comforting."

Carroll &Graf, which publishes 100 fiction and nonfiction titles a year and has an active backlist of more than 700 titles, is PGW's largest client publisher after Grove/Atlantic. The relationship between the two g s back to 1982, when Carroll and Graf, both previously at Grove Press, established their own company and signed on with PGW. In 1996, Avalon acquired 22% of Carroll &Graf, the largest minority holding in its portfolio.

Referring to the long partnership between PGW and Carroll &Graf, Graf said, "They know and understand our strengths and abilities, and we know all their people. It makes sense for both of us." According to Avalon's Reich, "There will be no real changes. The publishing program will continue much as it has, and the company will run independently."

Current Carroll &Graf titles include Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie, short-listed for this year's Booker Prize, and Alexandra Richie's Faust Metropolis, named a PW notable book of the year.