Magazine article Information Today

Maxwell Acquires BRS: Operations to Merge with Pergamon ORBIT Infoline

Magazine article Information Today

Maxwell Acquires BRS: Operations to Merge with Pergamon ORBIT Infoline

Article excerpt

Maxwell Acquires BRS Operations to Merge with Pergamon ORBIT Infoline

When the rumors began flying around the annual meeting of the Information Industry Association in late October that Maxwell, in one corporate form or another, was about to acquire another online database vendor, everyone assumed it was BRS. After all, Dialog had just been acquired by Knight-Ridder, and Maxwell's Pergamon had acquired SDC Search Service a few years ago.

The process of elimination was quite simple, unless you think of The Source, CompuServe, and Delphi as online database vendors, which most people don't. NewsNet was a possibility, but the rumors never mentioned the Pennsylvania company that specializes in putting newsletters online.

And then there were the inevitable "insider leaks," which whispered that discussions had been going on between the Maxwell forces and the BRS people for some time. "Probably ever since Maxwell's bid for Dialog fell short," we told each other.

So it was with little surprise that we received the news on November 29, 1988, that Maxwell had acquired BRS Information Technologies from Thyssen-Bornemisza Group. What did surprise some of us, however, was the headline on the press release: "Macmillan, Inc. Acquires BRS Information Technologies." We knew about Maxwell's recent acquisition of Macmillan, of course, but this was the first we heard that any part of the online services operations would be under the Macmillan umbrella.

The news about the BRS acquisition reaches Information Today just at press time. (We literally pulled another story off the boards to allow this one to be on the front page.) Jim Terragno, president of Pergamon ORBIT InfoLine, Inc., was kind enough to allow us to interview him (twice) by phone during what must be a very chaotic time for him and his staff.

Mr. Terragno, understandably, could not provide us with much information at all concerning how the two companies would be reorganized, however. "The deal won't even close for about three weeks," he said. "It's obvious, however, that one of the main reasons such an acquisition makes sense for us is the achievement of some economies of scale in operations and marketing," Mr. Terragno told us. Translated, this means there will undoubtedly be some merging of people and facilities in the fairly near future. A "transitions team" has been set up to deal with all aspects of the merger. "Our objective ultimately is to have one online service," said Mr. …

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