Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD


Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD


Article excerpt

Publishing Firm to Sell Theme Parks ORLANDO, Fla. - Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. put its four Sea World parks and two other attractions on the market Tuesday to help extricate itself from a $2.5 billion debt brought on by a 1987 hostile takeover attempt.

The company said selling the marine parks in Florida, Texas, Ohio and California and Boardwalk & Baseball and Cypress Gardens in Central Florida was the best way to meet debt obligations and concentrate on its publishing and insurance divisions.

Estimates of the value of the properties ranged from $1 billion to $2.5 billion.

Wall Street applauded the move. HBJ's stock closed up $3.75 a share Tuesday to $13.87 1/2 in active trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

``It's a positive development for the company because of its weak balance sheet,'' said Robert Dunlap, a securities analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York. ``Clearly, something had to be done.''

HBJ, the nation's largest textbook publisher, has struggled with a $2.9 billion recapitalization program over the past two years by disposing of trade-magazine and school-supply interests, streamlining its parks division and reshuffling its publishing operations - all of which included huge reductions in personnel.

Lotus Ships Long-Awaited Software BOSTON - After an 18-month delay that drove down its stock and depressed its earnings, Lotus Development Corp. said Tuesday it has begun shipping an improved version of its best-selling 1-2-3 computer software.

More than 400 stockholders burst into cheers at Lotus' annual meeting as a live video hookup showed boxes of the long-awaited spreadsheet program, named Release 3, rolling off an assembly line at the company's Cambridge manufacturing center.

Teresa Lotzgesell, an analyst with the Seattle brokerage house of Ragen Mackenzie, said the delay in producing Release 3 was a boon to competitors like Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., and Borland International Corp. of Scotts Valley, Calif.

Lotus, founded in 1982, once had a near lock on the $600 million-a-year market for computer spreadsheets. Now, Microsoft's Excel program has about 12 percent of the market, Borland's Quattro has between 5 and 10 percent, and various other programs have about 10 percent, Lotzgesell said.

Time Stock Continues Slipping NEW YORK - Time Inc. …

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