NEW YORK — Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer said Monday that it has agreed to acquire J. B. Lippincott, the Philadelphia-based medical publisher, for about $250 million from Harper Collins, half-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
Wolters Kluwer U.S., which already operates Raven Press and Aspen Publishers, said the acquisition of Lippincott, which has annual revenue of about $100 million, will boost its sales volume to about $150 million in the United States.
Lippincott, which has 400 employees, publishes information and manuals for the medical profession, including journals and loose-leaf medical data.
Founded in 1792, it was independent until seven years ago, when Harper & Row purchased the company. In 1987, News Corp. bought Harper & Row for $293 million, then sold a 50% stake in the publishing concern to William Collins PLC in 1988.
Included in the transaction are Lippincott affiliates Facts and Comparisons, which provides information on drugs for pharmacists and Gower, which publishes medical atlases.
"This acquisition makes Wolters Kluwer one of the largest medical publishers in the United States," said M. Ververs, chairman of WK NV, an international publisher based in the Netherlands.
Harper Collins said WK was tops among six bidders for Lippincott in an auction conducted over the last several days.
Bruce Lenz, chief financial officer of WK (U.S.), said the company views the acquisition "as a way to expand in the United States, with an ideal company to meet those objectives. Medical publishing is an area where we already had some strength."
Lenz said WK plans to retain all of Lippincott's employees and keep the company headquartered in Philadelphia.
In 1989, WK, encompassing 100 companies with more than 8,000 employees worldwide, had sales of $1 billion, of which 10% came from U.S. operations.
The all-cash transaction is expected to close next month.