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Publisher laying off employees

Houghton Mifflin won't say how many

Email|Print| Text size + By Carolyn Y. Johnson
Globe Staff / January 31, 2008

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. is laying off employees in Boston and other offices as it consolidates some of its operations in the wake of its $4 billion acquisition of Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade, and Greenwood-Heinemann from Reed Elsevier.

The company completed the acquisition in December. Due to the integration of the businesses, layoffs have occurred in departments and offices across the country, spokesman Richard Blake said. He would not say how many.

Currently, the company has about 900 employees in Boston and 200 in Wilmington, Blake said. About 6,000 total work for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

"Layoffs are in connection with the integration of the Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt Businesses," Blake wrote in an e-mail. "Workforce reductions are unfortunate but necessary as a result of redundancies, realized efficiencies, and organizational change."

A memo sent to some employees after the layoffs explained plans for Holt McDougal, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

For Holt McDougal, design and production would be scaled back in Boston to "a small support staff" as those functions are concentrated in Austin, Texas, and Evanston, Ill., according to the memo.

"All remaining Boston-area editorial will be consolidated in the Berkeley Street office, with Waltham-based employees moving there in February," the memo said.

Blake confirmed that Holt McDougal's design and production staff are being consolidated in other cities, and said a small editorial group in Waltham would be moving to the Boston headquarters. He would not say how many employees were affected.

Linnea Walsh, a spokeswoman for the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, said the company had not notified the state of any layoffs.

"Unfortunately, integrating our businesses requires that we adjust staffing to reflect our new consolidated publishing plan . . . " the Holt McDougal memo said. "As a result, many valued employees who have contributed to the past success of both Holt and McDougal will not have positions in the new company."

Carolyn Y. Johnson can be reached at cjohnson@globe.com.

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