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Curtco Freedom Group last week acquired Scholastic's Home Office Computing and its spin-off, Small Business Computing, which will be merged with Curtco's fledgling small-business title, Co.

With the acquisition of Scholastic's SOHO Group for approximately $20 million, Curtco -- a publisher of vertical technology titles -- will sharply increase revenue and double the size of its magazines' combined circulation, to over 1 million.

Some 40 Scholastic employees will move to Curtco's New York office when the sale is completed. Over the past two years, Curtco has grown from 32 employees to more than 200.


"This acquisition adds 50% to our top line for Curtco Freedom Group," said Freedom Magazines President Samuel Wolgemuth.

"Being able to deliver over 1 million in circulation to our advertisers is very powerful," added Curtco President-CEO William J. Curtis. Curtco is a joint venture between Freedom Magazines and Mr. Curtis.

Along with Co., Curtco publishes Home Theater, Home Theater Buyer's Guide, Digital Home Entertainment, Mobile Computing & Communications, Sales & Field Force Automation and Portable Computing Direct Shopper.

Home Office Computing's circulation was 460,831 for the first half of this year, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations. Ad pages through October hit 103.6, a gain of 11.2%.

Co., published four times this year, will be merged into Small Business Computing, a monthly. The magazine's goal is to reach a circulation of 100,000 by the end of 1998.

The home office market has become increasingly crowded this year, with new entries such as Entrepreneur's Home Office and Working at Home, a spinoff of Success. Others in the field include small-business books Inc., Your Company and Income Opportunities.

Inc. Publisher Riley McDonough said it will be difficult for the smaller titles to grow.

"I think there is enough information out there currently to satisfy the needs of that market," he said. "I don't see where the growth potential is to any significant size."

Countered William Holliber, exec VP-group publisher of Curtco Freedom Group, "All of the research points to 15%-a-year growth in the home office market, and technology is the key driving force behind that."

Curtco executives see strong potential for advertising and marketing synergies between the company's titles and seminars, as well as through its custom publishing unit -- with clients such as Microsoft Corp., Symantec Corp. and

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