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Publisher Houghton Mifflin announces IPO at $14-$16/share

Friday, 1 Nov 2013 | 6:07 PM ET

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co announced an initial public offering of 18.25 million shares at $14-$16 per share, raising as much as $292 million for the selling shareholders including John Paulson's hedge fund.

Houghton, which also publishes the "Curious George" and "Lord of the Rings" book series, emerged from bankruptcy in 2012 when bondholders of some $3 billion in debt received equity in the company.

All the shares are being offered by selling stockholders. ()

Paulson & Co holds about 27 percent stake in Houghton, making it the largest shareholder. The fund's share will drop to 23 percent if the underwriters exercise their full option.

Houghton's debt troubles started in 2006 when Education Media & Publishing Group Ltd borrowed heavily to buy it for $1.75 billion from Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital. The Dublin-based group later merged Houghton with Harcourt, which it bought from Reed Elsevier Plc for about $4 billion.

In February 2010, Houghton Mifflin recapitalized its balance sheet with $650 million of new equity.

The Boston-based company received 88 percent revenue from its educational business in 2012.

Reuters reported in July that the publisher was close to filing for an IPO.

The company, which has been publishing books since 1832, intends to list its common stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol "HMHC."

The company's loss narrowed to $46.53 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, from $52.93 million a year earlier. Revenue rose about 8 percent to $1.07 billion.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo Securities are among the major underwriters for the IPO, the company said in a filing.