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BRIEFLY / PUBLISHING

Wolters Kluwer Bidding for Harcourt General

October 18, 2000|Reuters

Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer confirmed it has bid for U.S. publisher Harcourt General Inc., and industry sources said Anglo-Dutch rival Reed Elsevier also is in the running. Harcourt, one of the world's biggest education publishers, which analysts value at as much as $6 billion, has been for sale since June. Sources said the subscription period for an auction of the assets ended Monday. Both Wolters and Reed Elsevier had said they were considering bidding, and BusinessWeek publisher McGraw Hill, German media group Bertelsmann, Financial Times publisher Pearson and Canada's Thomson have also been mentioned as possible bidders. But industry sources said most are not interested in buying all of Harcourt's divisions and some may have submitted offers in partnership. Harcourt General, based in Chestnut Hill, Mass., said in June its shares were undervalued and consequently decided to put the company up for sale in an auction. Analysts see a takeover of Harcourt by either Wolters Kluwer or Reed Elsevier as a good strategic fit. Harcourt shares rose 26 cents to close at $61.33 on the NYSE.

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