Maxwell Tells His Strategy for Macmillan : Publishing Focus Means Some Assets Will Be Sold

Associated Press

Maxwell Communication PLC said Friday that it plans to sell its British commercial printing business and is considering selling other assets following its takeover of the U.S.-based publishing and information services concern Macmillan Inc.

The company, which is headed by Robert Maxwell, said the moves are part of a restructuring that will enable it to focus more on publishing and less on printing following the Macmillan deal.

Maxwell Communication said in a statement that it plans to sell BPCC, Britain’s largest commercial printing business, perhaps to its management. In addition, Maxwell Communication said it is considering selling its newspaper printing business.

Maxwell is to retain his privately held Mirror Group Newspapers, which owns the national Daily Mirror, Britain’s second-largest daily newspaper with a circulation of 3.25 million.


‘Not a Bookkeeper’

“These moves represent a major strategic refocusing of our businesses in the publishing arena on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Maxwell, who serves as chairman of Maxwell Communication.

The company’s statement also said the moves will “reposition the group as one of the world’s leading publishing and communications companies.”

At a news conference in New York, Maxwell asserted that he has no intention of selling any of Macmillan’s publishing assets.


“I am a publisher, not a bookkeeper,” he said, and added that he hoped to improve the company’s system for distributing books, compete more aggressively for best-selling works and strive for international publishing prominence.

However, the company said it intended to sell off divisions of Macmillan that prove “peripheral to our core strategy.”

Macmillan’s interests include the Katherine Gibbs secretarial and Berlitz language schools and its Gumps retailing operations.

Maxwell said he met Friday with Macmillan’s senior managers to assure them he planned to make the company grow rather than break it up, and sent letters making the same point to all of the company’s employees.