Publishing with A French Accent

Hachette spends $1.2 billion to become a major player in the U.S.

Among the U.S. assets being ogled by foreign interests these days, publishing companies have been popular buys. Reason: such enterprises, notoriously risky if started from scratch, can be bought at a relative bargain price because of the dollar's decline over the past three years. Last week Hachette, France's largest publishing house, helped itself to two generous slices of the U.S. market in just four days. First Hachette agreed to pay $448.6 million to purchase Connecticut-based Grolier, the publisher of the Encyclopedia Americana. Then the French firm paid $712 million for Diamandis Communications, the owner of a dozen magazines, including Woman's Day...

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