Harris Acquires Baseview Products

By Rosenberg, Jim | Editor & Publisher, April 16, 1994 | Go to article overview
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Harris Acquires Baseview Products


Rosenberg, Jim, Editor & Publisher


Talks that began at Nexpo '93 between neighboring exhibitors Harris Publishing Systems Corp. and Baseview Products Inc. have led to a marriage of convenience, with both parties insisting that business will be best if they maintain separate identities and operations.

The Harris Corp. subsidiary in Melbourne, Fla., acquired Baseview, a Macintosh-based publishing systems developer, late last month. No details of the transaction were disclosed.

Both companies emphasized that Baseview will retain its name; remain at its Ann Arbor, Mich., headquarters; and continue product sales through its existing domestic and international sales and distribution channels.

Harris sells its editorial, advertising, imaging and pagination systems to medium-sized to large dailies; Baseview targets small to medium-sized dailies and weeklies.

Baseview marketing director Robert Yoder said the companies will work together to provide Macintosh links for smaller publications now using Harris systems.

His counterpart at Harris, Ron Jones, said that although Baseview will operate independently, Harris will "help them out where we can with such skills as integration . . . especially as they start to serve some of the bigger newspapers as they move up market.'

Yoder identified that market as newspapers with about 100,000 circulation, which he called "a lot different from our core 25,000-circulation market," which Baseview will continue to serve on its own.

A recent example of up-market installations that will draw on Harris experience is Baseview's work at the 75,000,circulation Oakland Press, Pontiac, Mich. Covering most of Oakland County, just north of Detroit, the Press is the largest of several Baseview customers among Capital Cities/ABC Inc. newspapers.

Its 85 staffers last month switched from an aging mainframe-based system to Baseview's IQue editorial system and IQueX XTension to QuarkXPress for pagination. Baseview adapted its wire capture for handling multiple wires and customized a Sonar Inc. archiving system for the newspaper's use.

Harris vice president and general manager Stan Padgett said the acquisition "greatly expands" his company's range of newspaper publishing solutions, bringing it a "top-to-bottom range" of product lines appropriate for publications of any size within a single newspaper group. Those smaller papers, he said, will be able to buy suitable publishing systems and enjoy the same kind of support and service that Harris offers their larger sister papers.

Padgett said Harris does not intend to change Baseview products. But pointing to "a few customers" that asked it for a little more in such areas as high-end PostScript output and OPI service, he said, "There were a few places where Baseview had some upside opportunities that . . . from a technology standpoint" probably could have been met by Harris Publishing products.

Padgett said a hugh customer base "certainly was one" of Baseview's attractions - it has more than 1,000 customer sites in dozens of countries, with a heavy overseas presence in Latin America and Europe. Also making the company an attractive acquisition, he said, was that "they're one of the few suppliers in the industry that are growing at a fairly decent rate."

Yoder said, "We've been suffering hypergrowth recently," adding that Baseview is averaging 15 installations a week and its work force has almost doubled in the past 18 months. Baseview said it installed software at 12 sites in December and took on 14 new customers in the first five weeks of 1994.

In addition to its technical expertise, Yoder said, Harris has the financial resources to support that business growth and Baseview's continuing product development.

He said that because operations will not be consolidated and Harris is expected to contribute to sales growth, Baseview's work force probably will continue to grow and no executive changes are anticipated as a result of the acquisition.

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