Reed to Buy Harcourt General, sell part to Thomson

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London--In an effort to expand its scientific and educational publishing--and stem declining profits--Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier plc has agreed to buy Harcourt General Inc. for $5.65 billion in cash and assumed debt. In turn, Canada's Thomson Corp. will buy part of Harcourt from Reed. Reed, which owns Cahners Business Information, will pay $59 a share for Harcourt, the world's largest medical/science publisher, headquartered in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Reed will also assume $1.2 billion in debt. Toronto-based Thomson, Reed's main rival in the legal information field, will buy Harcourt's higher education publishing units for $2 billion. Indeed, earnings have suffered at Reed from increased competition in legal and trade publishing. The Harcourt deal follows a three-year, reorganization plan announced earlier this year by Reed CEO Crispin Davis to invest $1 billion into Internet operations
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