School Specialty Buys McGraw-Hill Titles

Greenville, WI-based School Specialty is at again. The acquisitive parent of such school-products catalogs as Childcraft, Sax Arts & Crafts, and Sportime acquired select children’s publishing assets of McGraw-Hill Education, a division of McGraw-Hill. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close later this month.

Based in Columbus, OH-based, the Mc-Graw-Hill properties purchased have annual sales of $65 million and employ about 260. The businesses develop, produce, market, and distribute supplemental education materials including literature, workbooks and manipulatives and own copyrights under leading imprints such as Instructional Fair, Frank Schaffer, Judy Instructo, and Spectrum. The materials are sold to resellers, including Teacher’s Store, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club.

“These new channels provide promising market expansion opportunities for our current proprietary product offerings,” says David Vander Zanden, president/CEO of School Specialty, which sells primarily to educators and schools.

In the wake of the acquisition, “we’re likely to take a harder look at some of the merchandising in our catalogs,” Vander Zanden says. “We’re a customer too, and some of the [McGraw-Hill] product appears in our Childcraft, Classroom Direct, and other catalogs.”

Separately, School Specialty has also acquired the stock of $16 million Chatsworth, CA-based Califone International. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Califone develops sound-presentation systems, including multimedia and audio-visual equipment, for schools and businesses. The products are produced in Asia. School Specialty already sells some Califone products.