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Seagram Selling Putnam Berkley to Pearson

November 26, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ Pearson PLC said Tuesday it will buy The Putnam Berkley Group Inc., the publishing division of The Seagram Co. Ltd., for $336 million.

Putnam Berkley will become part of Pearson’s Penguin Publishing subsidiary, and will make Penguin the world’s second-largest general-interest book publisher, Pearson said.

Putnam Berkley’s authors include Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell, Dick Francis, Amy Tan, Robin Cook, Bebe Moore Campbell and Kurt Vonnegut.

Montreal-based Seagram acquired Putnam in its $5.7 billion purchase of an 80 percent stake of the entertainment concern MCA Inc. in mid-1995. Putnam reported sales of $276 million for the year ended June 30.

Penguin is part of the entertainment division of Pearson, which also includes Pearson Television, The Tussauds Group, Pearson New Entertainment and Mindscape.

``This decision was based on our strategy to focus on our core entertainment businesses and to deploy assets into those segments offering the greatest opportunity for Seagram,″ said Edgar Bronfman Jr., Seagram’s president and chief executive officer.

Pearson said Putnam Berkley fits well with its Penguin publishing operation.

``The two businesses complement each other extremely well,″ said Michael Lynton, who takes over as chairman and chief executive of Penguin in January.

Phyllis Grann, chairman and chief executive of Putnam, will become president of the combined group Penguin/Putnam group in the United States.

The sale by Seagram comes only a day after MCA agreed to buy Gannett Co.’s syndicated TV programs, including the talk shows ``Sally Jessy Raphael″ and ``Jerry Springer.″ Terms were not disclosed.

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