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Copyright 1988 The move followed the Delaware Supreme Court's rejection of an attempt by Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts and Company, a New York investment firm, to purchase the company. Macmillan had sought an offer from Kohlberg, Kravis in order to stave off Mr. Maxwell's advances. The court ruled, however, that the bidding process used by the investment firm was illegal.

The $2.5-billion deal will add substantially to Mr. Maxwell's stake in the American educational-publishing industry. In June, Mr. Maxwell purchased Science Research Associates, a major testing firm.

In addition to its sizable school-textbook and trade-book divisions, Macmillan also owns the Berlitz language schools, the Katherine Gibbs secretarial schools, and a legal-text company.

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