In a move that will create one of the world’s largest Christian media empires, Thomas Nelson Publishers is scheduled to purchase Word, Inc., by the end of November. Late last month Thomas Nelson announced it had agreed with Word’s owner, Capital Cities/ABC to purchase Word for $72 million in cash, subject to the satisfaction of some “customary closing procedures,” an official statement said.

Roland Lundy, president of Word, said in an official statement released the same day, that “Word will retain its distinctive identity, as with its previous parent company relationship.”

Sam Moore, president of Thomas Nelson, called the acquisition “strategic,” asserting that the companies’ joint operations “will result in our being the industry leader in Bible publishing, Christian and inspirational book publication.”

Thomas Nelson, which is 193 years old, earlier this year purchased Here’s Life Publishers from Campus Crusade for Christ. Nelson has one-quarter of the Bible market, vice-president for marketing Bob Zaloba told Publishers Weekly last year. In 1991 the company sold between 6 and 7 million Bibles, vice-president Joe L. Powers Word told CT. Word, over 40 years old, produces and distributes Christian music products by such artists as Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, and Petra; its authors include Charles Colson, James Dobson, and Charles Swindoll, whose books are consistently among the industry’s top sellers. Annual revenue for the two companies combined is reportedly close to $200 million.

The One That Got Away

Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, had also investigated the possibility of purchasing Word. Upon inspection of Word’s records and facilities, Zondervan made an offer it believed was “fair and reasonable.” “Obviously,” a Zondervan statement said, “other principals in the purchasing process valued Word higher.”

None of Word’s 550 employees should be laid off due to the sale, said Powers.

By Thomas S. Giles.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.