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Hearst acquires leading book publisher

NEW YORK -- The Hearst Corp. will acquire William Morrow & Co., Inc., the top-line New York-based book publisher, for $25.25 million in cash.

The acquisition of Morrow from SFN Companies, Inc., is the latest in a series by Hearst during the last two years and estimated to total around $180 million. Thursday's announcement was made jointly by Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Hearst president and chief executive and Gordon R. Hjalmarson, chairman, president and chief executive of SFN, a Chicago-based diversified publishing firm.

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Hjalmarson said SFN wants to concentrate more on its 'areas of strength in educational publishing.'

Morrow President Lawrence Hughes will remain in charge of its editorial staff and management team, Bennack said. Hughes will report to Gordon Jones, vice president of Hearst Books-Business Publishing Group, which includes Avon paperback publishers, Arbor House and various Hearst 'how-to' and special interest books.

Bennack, 48, said Hearst 'is fortunate to acquire such a quality trade book publishing house ...' that handles the works of such best-selling authors as Alvin Toffler, David Wallechinsky, Gail Sheehy, Irving Wallace, Joseph Wambaugh and Morris West.

Hearst, a privately held company founded by the late William Randolph Hearst, has in the last two years acquired five newspapers, a television station, another hard-cover publisher, a data-based publishing company and various trade publications and newspapers.

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Hearst also recently went into the cable television business in a joint venture with ABC Inc., which will develop two or more cable networks and related electronic services.

A recent article in Business Week said Hearst has made all of its recent acquisitions for cash and it said Bennack confirmed the company has 'enough for more acquisitions.'

At its peak Hearst owned 33 newspapers, most in metropolitan areas.

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