NEW YORK — British publisher Robert Maxwell offered today to acquire Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., one of the largest U.S. independent book publishers, for about $2 billion.
The $44-a-share offer for the Orlando, Fla.-based company was made through British Printing & Communications Corp. and marks Maxwell's biggest foray into the United States. In March Maxwell's great rival Rupert Murdoch acquired Harper & Row Publishers Inc. for about $300 million, beating out two rival suitors including Harcourt. Harcourt publishes a wide range of textbook, scientific and general books. It has also diversified into amusement parks, television stations and insurance.