Rival Publishers Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer Agree to Merge

From Associated Press

Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier and its Dutch competitor, Wolters Kluwer, said Monday that they will merge to create a publishing powerhouse in the scientific and professional fields.

The new company, Elsevier Wolters Kluwer, will have a strong presence in North America, Europe and Asia with trade journals and electronic information, the companies said in a joint statement.

"The main thing is that they can now together make the large investments needed for the change from print publishing to electronic publishing," said Reinier Westeneng, an analyst with Stroeve Bank in Amsterdam.

The companies would have had combined sales of $6.6 billion last year.

Reed Elsevier is already the world's largest publisher of academic and trade journals and owns the Lexis-Nexis database company.

Reed has been making a push into the United States, hoping to build its electronic publishing offerings.

The deal with Wolters Kluwer needs approval by shareholders of Reed International, Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer.

American depositary receipts of Wolters Kluwer fell $1.50 to close at $134 in over-the-counter trading.

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