The Langenscheidt Publishing Group of Munich and Berlin, which also maintains a strong presence in the U. S., has acquired a majority holding in Germany's Könemann group. The purchase creates an unusual and contrasting merger between the high-end cartographic, reference and travel publishing of Langenscheidt and Könemann's program of low-priced, high-quality publications in cookery, health, art, leisure and children's books, which are marketed in the U.S. and Latin America as well as Europe. Founded by Ludwig Könemann in 1993 and now one of the country's top 10 in revenue, Könemann has recently seen rapid growth, which called for an upgrade of administration and logistics it could not afford on its own.

Still a family company, Langenscheidt, with 1,400 employees worldwide, reports annual sales of just under DM 500 million (some $225 million); Könemann reports about DM 220 million ($100 million). Langenscheidt's CEO Andreas Langenscheidt expects that the merger will pay off in synergies in global sales and marketing, but also by exploitation of the buyer's databases at its affiliates Bibliographisches Institut and F.A. Brockhaus. Könemann will maintain editorial autonomy, Langenscheidt promised.