Houghton Mifflin – the US publishing house recently sold by Vivendi Universal – will not be broken up, its new owners have vowed.

A consortium comprising private equity firms Thomas H Lee and Bain Capital agreed to buy the publisher for $1.7 billion (€1.7bn; £1.1bn)[WAMN: 01-Nov-02]. Executives from the two groups said they had no plans to separate the educational book business (the fourth largest in the US) from the trade publishing operations.

“Houghton is working very well as a stand-alone business and it makes no sense to break it up,” said one insider. "Rather than restructuring, it could be expanded with selective acquisitions.”

The acquiring duo may be joined by a third private equity group, Blackstone, which dropped out of the auction earlier in November. It is expected to become a shareholder in Houghton Mifflin once the takeover is complete.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff