Scholastic to Acquire Klutz

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Scholastic has reached an agreement to acquire the noted children’s publisher Klutz from Corus Entertainment of Canada for an initial payment of approximately $43 million. The March 4 announcement noted that the deal was structured to include possible additional payments should Klutz reach certain performance goals over the next three years. Klutz has over 150 titles in print and had revenue of approximately $39 million in its last fiscal year, ending August 31, 2001.

In its 25 years of publishing, Klutz has produced a wide range of innovative -- and profitable -- titles for booksellers, including its debut title, Juggling for the Complete Klutz. Published with "a trio of no-bounce bean bags," the book was the first of many titles that combined instruction and information (conveyed with trademark humor and insouciance) with such related play materials as yo-yos and face paint.

Klutz’Chief Creative Officer and co-founder John Cassidy was co-author of Juggling for the Complete Klutz, and the announcement of the sales agreement noted that he will continue in his role at Klutz. In a prepared release, Cassidy said that "Klutz is thrilled to be a part of the Scholastic family…. This partnership will help us further our goal to get Klutz products into the hands of more kids. And, importantly, Scholastic supports our mission to create wonderful things, be good, and have fun."

Following the completion of the sale, Klutz, which is based in Palo Alto, California, will be a part of Scholastic’s Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution division, reporting to Barbara Marcus, president of the division. However, the announcement underscored that "Klutz will operate independently, maintaining its headquarters." Chris Deyo, Klutz president, will report to Marcus, and the company’s business functions, including sales, marketing, finance, editorial, and production will continue unchanged.

Kathleen Watson, Klutz vice president of marketing, told BTW that "essentially, it’s business as usual" for booksellers, who will see no changes in terms of business or company representation following the sale. "We will remain an independent company, under the Scholastic umbrella, but with continued independence." -- Dan Cullen