Haights Cross Completes Three Purchases
Jim Milliot -- 12/20/99

Haights Cross Communications has completed the acquisition of three publishing companies and announced the restructuring of the company into two divisions. Haights Cross's purchases of Chelsea House, Educational Design and Recorded Books will bring annual revenues for the professional and educational media company to more than $150 million.

Peter Quandt, who founded Haights Cross in 1996, said, "While these companies will work closely with other Haights Cross businesses, they will remain operationally independent and will stay in their present locations. We anticipate no changes in personnel." Quandt noted that while some Haights Cross companies, such as Newbridge and Sundance, share back-office functions, "We'll look very carefully before doing that with our new companies. It's not worth trying save a few dollars and end up destroying a business."

Haights Cross's newly acquired companies operate in three different areas. Chelsea is a publisher of young adult titles primarily for the school and library market. Founded in 1966, Chelsea is best known for its multivolume reference series such as Bloom's Notes and the Growth of Presidential Power. The company has a backlist of more than 2,300 titles. Headed by Philip Cohen, Chelsea is located near Philadelphia.

Educational Design, based in New York City, is a major publisher of test preparation materials for state and national tests. The company currently offers testing materials in 12 states and is expanding into new states; it will continue to be led by Donn Mosenfelder.

Recorded Books is one of the world's largest publishers of unabridged spoken-word audiobooks, with a library that contains more than 2,500 adult, young adult and children's titles. The company, which has facilities in Prince Frederick, Md., New York City and London, has received a boost in sales through its Web site. Henry Trentman will continue to oversee the operation.

The three acquisitions give Haights Cross a total of 10 media companies, spurring Quandt to create two new divisions. Kevin McAliley, a former president of Channel One, has joined the company as president and CEO of Haights Cross Publishing, a division that includes Chelsea and Recorded Books. McAliley will also oversee mergers and acquisitions for Haights Cross. Dan Wasp has been promoted to president and CEO of Haights Cross Educational Publishing, a group that includes Educational Design, Newbridge Educational and Sundance. Wasp had been president and CEO of Newbridge Educational Publishing.