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Bids Made for Simon & Schuster

May 14, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Media group Pearson PLC has teamed up with a U.S. investment firm to make a $4 billion offer to buy publisher Simon & Schuster, the Financial Times reported today.

The Financial Times, which is owned by Pearson, quoted unidentified sources close to U.S. investment company Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst. Pearson and Hicks had considered making rival bids for Simon & Schuster.

While published reports said the bids were for all of Simon & Schuster, the publishing company’s parent, Viacom Inc., said just parts of the business were for sale.

Viacom says the divisions for sale include its educational, professional and reference businesses. Viacom spokeswoman Karen Zatorski said today the company plans to retain Simon & Schuster’s consumer publishing business, which includes popular book titles and trade publications.

Pearson and Hicks joined forces and made their bid on Wednesday to the investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which is handling the sale for Viacom, the Financial Times said.

The Financial Times and The New York Times reported that bids also came from buyout specialists Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and magazine publisher Primedia, and Knowledge Universe, a company owned by Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and former junk bond king Michael Milken.

Viacom had announced earlier this year that it was looking for a buyer for part of its publishing business.

An announcement on the winning bidder could come as soon as Monday, the Financial Times said.

Phone calls placed to executives at London-based Pearson and Hicks, Muse were not immediately returned. Viacom spokeswoman said the ``sale is on track but we have nothing to announce.″

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