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Haights Cross Forms Internet Arm
Jim Milliot -- 7/24/00

Haights Cross Communications, the White Plains, N.Y.-based educational and professional publisher, has formed Skillspower.com, a new subsidiary designed to provide test prep materials on the Internet, CD-ROM and through in-service training. Skillspower.com, which will be based in New York, will initially license its content from Haights Cross's wholly owned unit Educational Design Inc. Haights Cross has also provided $5 million in initial funding for the startup, and Haights Cross's own investors stand ready to back the new operation if necessary.

Skillspower.com will provide access to more than 300 books covering state and standardized tests taken by about 90% of students in grades K-12. The materials will be available for license at the school, district or state level or in the home. Kevin McAliley, formerly president and CEO of Haights Cross Publishing, has been named to head Skillspower.com. He will report to Haights Cross chairman Peter Quandt. McAliley told PW he expects to launch Skillspower.com this fall and will have materials available for students in all states by year-end. McAliley said he is negotiating with other publishers to add their content to Skillspower.com.

McAliley's appointment is one of several executive changes at the publisher. Tim McEwen, formerly president and CEO of Thomson Learning's Lifelong Learning Group, has been named executive v-p and chief operating officer. Quandt said McEwen's Internet experience "will be invaluable" at Haights. Paul Crecca has added the title of executive v-p to his current role as chief financial officer.

Founded in 1996, Haights Cross reported revenues of $80 million in the first half of 2000. The company, whose units include Oakstone Publishing, the Coriolis Group, Newbridge Educational Publishing and Sundance Publishing, has grown through a series of acquisitions including Chelsea House Publishers, Recorded Books and Educational Design, which it purchased late last year (News, Dec. 20).
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