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Scientific American for Sale

March 29, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The privately-held company that publishes Scientific American, the respected and authoritative magazine of science, is for sale, the company’s chairman said.

The chairman, Gerard Piel, said the company had retained Salomon Brothers as its financial adviser, but he declined to say if any substantive offers had been received or what price the company was seeking.

Piel said Friday that the company had cherished ″the independence that has sustained the integrity of Scientific American and its associated enterprises in service to the wider understanding of science.″

He added, however, that ″our private ownership can no longer secure that independence.″

Piel told The New York Times that the company, Scientific American Inc., is financially healthy, but the magazine suffered a serious loss of advertising last year and expects a further loss this year.

Piel, along with two partners, acquired the magazine in 1948 and has guided it to its current prominence in the lay scientific field.

Piel, 71, who with other members of his family owns a significant minority position in the company, had lost control of the board to Dr. Arthur Sackler, the sources said. Sackler, 72, joined the board two years ago by buying the stock of one of Piel’s partners who retired.

Sackler, unhappy with the company’s management and pressing for change, apparently persuaded enough shareholders to force a sale, according to unidentified industry sources quoted by the Times.

Piel, however, disagreed with that assessment and said he and Sackler do not disagree about the company’s management. Sackler could not be reached for comment, the Times said.

Scientific American has a circulation of 654,000 in the United States and the company produces editions in nine foreign languages. It also publishes a medical text and owns a book publishing company and a book club.

Earlier this month, Piel said that Scientific American was not for sale despite rumors that some of its holders want to dispose of it, and a spokesman for Time Inc. denied that his company was negotiating to buy the monthly publication.

On March 14, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wall Street sources said a fight was brewing for control of the company, with some holders pressuring the publisher to sell the magazine.

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