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Field to Acquire Funk & Wagnalls

May 27, 1988

CHICAGO (AP) _ Field Corp. announced that its Field Publications affiliate will acquire all of the stock of Funk & Wagnalls Inc., a major publisher of encyclopedias and other reference books.

The purchase price was not disclosed, Field spokeswoman Virginia Butts said Thursday. The New York Times, in today’s editions, says an unnamed industry expert estimated the price at $70 million to $100 million.

The transaction is expected to be closed next Tuesday, Butts said.

Funk & Wagnalls, based in Ramsey, N.J., is the second-largest general reference encyclopedia publisher in the United States and Canada ranked by sales, behind World Book. The company has annual revenue of around $50 million, according to the Times.

Funk & Wagnalls’ main business is selling mass-market encyclopedias, yearbooks, family health guides and other reference books through supermarkets and direct marketing.

The privately held company is owned by an investment group that includes its management.

The acquisition will provide Field with a new means of product distribution, said Field President Bruce Seide.

Field Publications, formerly Xerox Education Publications, is based in Middletown, Conn., and markets publications to schools, students and individual consumers. Its main products are book clubs and the 60-year-old Weekly Reader classroom newspaper.

Chicago-based Field Corp., owned by Marshall Field 5th, bought its publications affiliate from Xerox Corp. in 1985.

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