Disney eyes print sell-off

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Walt Disney Co. said it is exploring the sale of the entire publishing operation that it acquired through its purchase of Capital Cities/ABC last February. The sprawling publishing holdings are believed to have had sales last year of close to $1.3 billion and operating profits of $170 million to $180 million, and include properties ranging from Fairchild Publications (W, Women's Wear Daily, Daily News Record), to daily newspapers, including the Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Oakland Press Group, based in Pontiac, Mich.

Also included are Institutional Investor, MultiChannel News, agricultural titles and controlled circulation shopper newspapers.

Walt Disney's consumer magazine publishing group (which includes Disney Adventures, Family Fun and Discover) and its Hyperion book imprint are not part of the divestment.

Most industry observers believe Disney will be able to command the highest price by selling the holdings in pieces rather than as a single block. Early estimates are that the break-up price tag will top $2 billion, which would make the sale one of the top two or three largest publishing deals of all time.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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