CBS to sell music publishing business

NEW YORK -- CBS Inc. Friday announced it has agreed to sell its book publishing operations to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. for $500 million and its music publishing business to another group for an undisclosed price.

The sales of major CBS holdings were the first since Lawrence A. Tisch became acting chief executive officer of the broadcasting and record company early last month following the ouster of former Chairman Thomas H. Wyman.


CBS is selling most of its eduational and professional publishing division to Harcourt, a major publisher of textbooks, periodicals and professional books.

Harcourt, which is based in Orlando, Fla., will acquire Holt, Rinehart & Winston -- one of the nation's leading publishers of textbooks for the college and school market -- and W.B. Saunders, the world's largest publisher of medical textbooks and health sciences education material.

The purchase does not include the division's Ibero-American operations, a Latin American and Spanish publishing company known as NEISA-Interamerica, which a CBS spokeswoman said will be sold in a separate transaction to an as yet unidentified buyer.


In a separate announcement later in the day, CBS said it plans to sell its music publishing business -- part of the CBS record group -- to an entity formed by Stephen Swid, Charles Koppelman and Martiner Bandier. Terms were not disclosed.

Swid is co-chairman of General Felt Industries Inc., a carpet and furniture manufacturer, and Knoll International Inc., another furniture concern. Koppelman and Bandier own Entertainment Co., a publishing and music production ccmpany.

The sale involves the CBS Catalog Partnership, April Music Inc., Blackwood Music Ionc., Music Theater International and CBS Songs International and is expected to be finialized in November.

Asked what prompted the sale of the music publishing business, a CBS spokesman said: 'The potential for earnings relative to our position in other music business areas is not as high. We were presented with an attractive deal and decided to sell.'

Sources close to the company said the Harcourt deal could be completed before the end of the year. It is subject to approval by regulatory authorities.

The book publishingoperation 'has been essentially a stand-alone element of CBS, not closely tied to the media and entertainment businesses that make up the rest of the company,' Tisch said in a statement.


'While proceeds from the sale may be applied towards working capital, the company remains interested in potential acquisitions, particularly in the field of television stations,' Tisch said.

But analysts believe CBS may use some of the proceeds to reduce the debt incurred to thwart a hostile takeover by Atlanta cable enterpreneur Ted Turner in 1984.

CBS stock was up $2 to $132 a share in Friday's trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

CBS entered the publishing field with its 1967 acquisition of Holt, Rinehart and expanded its stake when it purchased W.B. Saunders in 1968.

CBS's book publishing operations are part of its publishing group, which also includes CBS Magazines.

The publishing group is the smallest of CBS's three main businesses.

For the first nine months of this year the publishing group had operating income of $34.1 million, or about 9 percent of the parent company's operating earnings for the period. The group's revenues totaled $502.8 million for the nine-month period.

Speculation about a possible sale of the CBS book publishing operations intensified when Peter A. Derow, president of the publishing group, and more than a dozen members of his executive staff were dismissed last week. Derow was made a consultant to the company.


CBS instituted widespread layoffs throughout the company in an effort to cut costs before and after Tisch became acting chief executive.

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