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Thomson Merges Gale, IAC, Primary Source Media into The Gale Group
Posted On September 14, 1998
Thomson Business Information (TBI), an operating entity of the Thomson Corporation, has announced that it is merging three of its electronic and reference publishing subsidiaries—Gale Research, Information Access Company (IAC), and Primary Source Media—into a new company called The Gale Group. The new company headquarters will be in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit—currently the headquarters of Gale Research. Allen Paschal, currently president of IAC, will serve as the chief executive officer, and will be moving from California to Michigan, along with other members of his executive team.

In making the announcement, Patrick J. Tierney, president of TBI, said, "By combining Gale's extensive new product development, editorial, and print publishing capabilities, IAC's expertise in electronic publishing, and Primary Source Media's expertise with publishing original research materials, we will create compelling new products, strengthen existing ones, and deliver the highest quality of customer service."

Tierney also noted the changing expectations of Gale Research, IAC, and Primary Source Media customers. "Today's professional information buyers want products that better meet the needs of end users, whether they be public library patrons, students in the classrooms, or knowledge workers throughout business enterprises," he said. "The Gale Group will have new abilities to best meet not only today's, but tomorrow's customer demands."

Allen Paschal stressed that the merging of the companies was not driven by cost-saving measures, but to grow the company, leverage strengths, and develop more compelling products. He also noted that the companies had different and complementary products and were selling to the same marketplace, namely the public library, school, and academic markets. [Note: Paschal elaborates on the new company, its products, markets, and many other issues in a forthcoming interview in the October issue of Information Today.]

Paschal, who will continue to report to Tierney, announced that Dedria Bryfonski, the CEO of Gale Research, assumes the new position of president, Library Education Group of The Gale Group; and that David Lucas, CEO of Primary Source Media, will manage all Gale Group operations in Europe and additionally will direct the former Primary Source Media operations in the U.S. (Woodbridge, Connecticut) and England (Reading).

Gale Research is well known for its books, CD-ROMs, and online and Internet databases. Its products—such as the familiar Encyclopedia of Associations—are staples on virtually every library's shelves. IAC has established itself as a leader in information-based products in CD-ROM, microfilm, print, and online formats. Its popular products include InfoTrac SearchBank, ComputerSelect, IAC InSite, and PROMT. Primary Source Media, formerly Research Publications, is less known by name but has a reputation as a leading publisher of primary source materials (such the complete record of the London Times back to 1771 and all English-language books published in the 18th century) across a spectrum of media.

I asked Paschal about the choice of the company name, Gale Group. He said that IAC was best known for its product name recognition (especially InfoTrac) and not for its company name, while the Gale company name was highly recognized for offering quality products.

With the backing of the $6 billion Thomson Corporation—and thus the ability to acquire new companies and content, as well as develop products with other Thomson subsidiaries—the new Gale Group could prove a formidable presence in the information business. We will watch with great interest for the announcements of new products that this combination of resources and company synergies might offer.

For additional information from the companies themselves, visit their Web sites:

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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