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Houghton Mifflin, $920 Million Loss

 Following are news excerpts of Vivendi's attempts (formerly known as Havas) to sell Houghton Mifflin, publisher of the textbook "Across the Centuries." Negotiations have failed at approximately  $500 million LESS than Vivendi previously purchased HM only a year ago. 

Public outrage began in January of 2002 over the Islamic indoctrination in public school, first reported by Mark Ellis. Simultaneously,  WorldNetDaily.com reported the Byron County Islamic simulation outrage as well as the review of the textbook by BlessedCause.

After dozens of news stories and various appearances by professionals exposing the Islamic indoctrination of students on Fox News, on Aug. 3rd, PE.com reported

bullet"The California Board of Education is scheduled to hear proposals for new textbooks next year, said Chris Dowell, a curriculum consultant for the state. Several publishers have submitted social studies textbooks for consideration."

Within two weeks of this statement, reports of the imminent sale of Houghton Mifflin began.  Fox News wrote its headline:  "Vivendi  [Houghton Mifflin]  Hit by Huge Loss, Ratings Cut to Junk."

"Several potential buyers had been in contact." -Reuters 8/14/02
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"In a conference call with investors and analysts from the company's Paris headquarters yesterday morning, chief executive Jean-Rene Fourtou said Boston-based publisher Houghton Mifflin Co. would be the first business put on the market.

"It's good that Houghton Mifflin is at the top of the list of things to dump. It's not a strategic fit with the rest of the company," said George Nichols, media analyst for Chicago's Morningstar Inc. "They said they wanted to sell it for more than they paid for it, but I don't know if they'll be able to."  -Washington Post 8/15/02
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On Oct. 23, 2002, Vivendi announced negotiations with Lagardere to purchase its publishing businesses, with the exclusion of Houghton Mifflin. 

"As to Houghton Mifflin, Vivendi Universal is examining the possibility of starting the disposal process again in order to be able to open it up to a higher number of potential acquirers."

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Pressure mounts on Vivendi as US sale crumbles
Reuters, London, October 26
Vivendi
split up the sale of its global publishing business earlier this week after receiving disappointingly low bids. The media giant sold its French, Spanish and Latin American assets to Lagardere but asked potential suitors for the U.S. assets to submit fresh bids by 1600 GMT Friday.

Bids fall short
Vivendi, which paid $2.2 billion including debt for Houghton Mifflin just a year ago, told contenders for the unit that bids needed to be above 1.75 billion euros.

PARIS  Media giant Vivendi Universal  revealed a 12.3 billion euro loss for the first half of the year on Wednesday as new management said it would sell U.S. publisher Houghton Mifflin to help contain a cash crisis.

"Vivendi said its board had voted to sell Boston-based Houghton Mifflin, for which it paid $2.2 billion in June 2001. 

 

"...bankers say the company would be better served selling [Houghton Mifflin] piecemeal so as to attract buyers who would be excluded from buying it outright."  -(Reuters 8/17/02)

Thus began the ongoing flurry of news reports stating the sale of Houghton Mifflin as fact, only to hit glitches in the negotiating process.
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Houghton Seen Close to Sale
By D.C. Denison, Globe Staff, 10/31/2002
Last week, Vivendi suspended the sale of Houghton Mifflin because the bids submitted were under the declared minimum of 1.75 billion euros, or $1.72 billion. But talks were restarted last weekend, and have continued into this week.

Forbes 10/30/02:
Sources close to the Houghton talks said the leading consortium was now headed by U.S. investment houses Blackstone and Thomas H. Lee after Kolhberg Kravis Roberts dropped out.

The sources said European funds had reduced their role in the team after the sale of Vivendi's non-U.S. publishing assets -- French investment house PAI has abandoned the bid while Apax Partners has vastly reduced its investment in the deal.
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Vivendi shares weaken, investors discount Houghton Mifflin sale
Nov 1, 2002  Yahoo News:

Shares of French media conglomerate Vivendi Universal were trading lower as investors appeared to discount its plans to sell US publisher Houghton Mifflin for a price well below the amount paid to acquire the unit just over a year ago.

VU shares at mid-day Friday were down 4.2 percent at 11.88 in a generally weaker overall market.

 

Vivendi said late Thursday it had entered into exclusive negotiations with a private equity consortium to sell Houghton Mifflin for 1.75 billion euros (1.73 billion dollars), an amount in line with press reports but well below the 2.2 billion dollars paid by the group in June 2001.
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Another new chapter
Houghton Mifflin
parent agrees to sell publisher to Thomas Lee-Bain group
By D.C. Denison, Globe Staff, 11/1/2002
Vivendi Universal announced yesterday that it has agreed to sell Boston-based publisher Houghton Mifflin to a group of investors led by two Boston firms, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital. The purchase is reported to be for $1.7 billion in cash and assumed debt. Two other buyout firms are also part of the investment group: New York-based Blackstone Group and London-based Apax Partners.
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According to the Associated Press on 12/31/02, Houghton Mifflin has finally been sold for $920 million less than one year ago! That equals 58% of what Vivendi (Havas) purchased it for. Speculation is expressed about whether this is actually a good deal for the purchaser. Business Today.com reports:

"Sperling said the new owners plan to grow Houghton's K-12 educational publishing business, which is strong in reading and mathematics learning tools. The firms will also look to expand Houghton's college educational offerings, and explore acquisitions." 

-Not one word about the social studies book.  hmmmm.

We pray that all textbook publishers take note of the consequences of publishing biased material, and urge you to omit the atheistic slant predominant in public school textbooks as well.  Christians ARE beginning to take notice and respond.

Related post: RIP OUT the pages

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