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Barron's Educational sells name, some assets to Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan, known for its SAT courses, is combining forces with a Hauppauge-based company that publishes Regents and SAT study aids.

Manuel H. Barron, 98, founded Barron's Educational, the

Manuel H. Barron, 98, founded Barron's Educational, the Hauppauge publisher of education books and aids. Kaplan Test Prep is buying the Barron's name and some of its assets.

Barron’s Educational Series, a Hauppauge publishing company founded during World War II, has sold its name and some of its assets to Kaplan Test Prep, the companies announced Tuesday.

The purchase combines two of the oldest and best-known brands in educational services and test-prep books in a market that is becoming increasingly competitive.  

Terms of the purchase, which was finalized on Friday, weren’t disclosed.

Manuel Barron, 98, who founded Barron’s in 1941 and has continued working as the company’s chief executive, said the combination will be a good fit.

 “I couldn’t be more pleased to pass the torch on to a company that shares the same roots and values as Barron’s,” he said in a statement. “Kaplan has also been a strong innovator in delivering educational programs and products, and I’m thrilled that Kaplan will be powering the future of the Barron’s brand to new generations of students.”

John Polstein, CEO of Kaplan, which is based in Manhattan, said the two companies “have always had a symbiotic relationship,” since Stanley Kaplan worked for Barron's decades ago.

He said the company plans to keep the Barron’s name.

“Kaplan and Barron’s have both been successful taking different approaches to instruction and learning, as they appeal to different types of learners,” Polstein said. “We plan to continue with that approach.”

Barron’s is known for recruiting teachers to write and edit its books.  

“Barron’s has a special relationship with teachers,” Maureen McMahon, president and publisher of Kaplan Publishing, said in an interview. “That is something we want to nurture.”

Kaplan posted revenue of $273.3 million in 2017, the company said. Barron’s declined to provide revenue information.

Barron’s has about 100 employees, all on Long Island, McMahon said. She was unsure how many of Kaplan’s 6,100 employees were based here.

The acquisition will include about 650 of Barron’s more than 2,000 titles, Kaplan said. Those sold include test prep and study aids, foreign language, reference, business and law titles. Kaplan also acquired the Barron’s name.

 Other Barron’s titles, including children's, parenting, cooking, art, hobby and craft books, will be published under a new name, B.E.S. Publishing, located in Hauppauge. Manuel Barron said he plans to “remain active” in B.E.S.

Some of Barron’s employees will join Kaplan; others will remain with B.E.S., McMahon said.

Kaplan offers educational and career services, including its SAT courses, which range from $299 to $899, the company said.

The two companies intersected decades ago when Stanley Kaplan, who started his company in 1938, was using Barron’s Regents study guides to tutor students in his business. He had spotted a factual error and decided to pay a visit to Barron and his wife, Gloria, who owned a college book store across the street from Brooklyn College. After discussing the error, Barron asked Kaplan if he would be interested in working on some of the books. And in 1943 Kaplan began writing and editing many of the Regents’ guides.  

An Associated Press story last year noted that the test-prep industry is facing competition from free and low-cost alternatives.

Kaplan, once owned by The Washington Post, is now a part of Graham Holdings, which was formerly known as The Washington Post Co. After the Post was sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2013, its remaining assets, including Kaplan, were renamed Graham Holdings, a Kaplan spokesman said.

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