Haights Cross Communications continued its effort last week to sharpen its business around elhi and library publishing by placing its professional publishing unit, Oakstone Publishing, up for sale and acquiring the test prep publisher Buckle Down Publishing. In addition, Rich Blumenthal, president of Chelsea House, has resigned.
The acquisition of Buckle Down was completed April 15. Based in Iowa City, Buckle Down publishes preparation materials for state-mandated tests that are customized for students in 25 states. Buckle Down will become a division of Haights's Triumph Learning subsidiary, and Triumph chief operating officer Jay Shah will become president and CEO of the company. In addition to complementing Truimph's product line, Buckle Down adds a direct mail operation to Triumph's field sales force.
The decision to sell Oakstone was based on Haights's plan to become "a pure-play k—12 educational and library publisher," said Haights chairman Peter Quandt. Oakstone, which publishes for the medical market, had sales of $18.2 million in 2003. Last year, Haights sold Oakstone units that published for the legal and business markets.
At Chelsea House, Bob Laronga, president of Haights's Sundance/Newbridge division, has been named to succeed Blumenthal. Chelsea's sales fell 14% last year, to $12.8 million, which the company attributed to school and public library budget pressures. While he acknowledged the tough funding environment, Quandt said that under Laronga's leadership "we will be able to fully leverage our total national distribution and sales network." Chelsea's editorial offices will remain in Langhorne, Pa., under the direction of editor-in-chief Sally Cheney.