Edmund Scientific Sold

Four years after putting Edmund Scientific on the selling block, Edmund Optics has sold the $10 million science hobbyists catalog to Science Kit & Boreal Laboratories (SK), a division of $1.46 billion laboratory supplies cataloger VWR Scientific Products. Terms were not disclosed.

The $48 million Barrington, NJ-based Edmund Optics is retaining its core title, business-to-business catalog Edmund Industrial Optics. “The growth rates were faster on our optical b-to-b business,” says Nicole Edmund, vice president of marketing. “So with a limited amount of resources, we wanted to stick with what was giving us our greatest return.”

Edmund Scientific, which targets some educators in addition to hobbyists, will retain its name under the $50 million SK. “The Edmund Scientific name has a lot of history,” says Randy Burkard, president of Tonawanda, NY-based SK.

Burkard says his company plans to share an as yet undetermined number of Edmund products with three SK catalogs that mail to teachers. At the same time, some items from the existing SK catalogs will be added to the Edmund book. But the company does not plan to mail Edmund books to the SK lists or SK books to the Edmund house file.

B-TO-B A BETTER BET Until the early 1980s, Edmund Scientific had been the cataloger’s flagship book. But during the past 20 years, Edmund Optics de-emphasized it in favor of its Edmund Industrial Optics catalog, which sells optical and imaging component solutions to semiconductor, telecommunication, and medical professionals. Whereas Edmund Scientific accounted for 75%-80% of the company’s sales in 1980-81, by this year it accounted for only 20% of overall sales.

“The Scientific side of the business needed the leadership and entrepreneurial spirit to take it to the next level,” Edmund says. “That’s why we think VWR was a good fit.”