Houghton Mifflin, the Boston-based publisher of books by Jhumpa Lahiri and Philip Roth, as well as the "Best American" series of anthologies, was recently acquired by the Irish educational software company Riverdeep Holdings for $1.75 billion. Riverdeep, which is actually the smaller of the two companies, was able to purchase Houghton Mifflin, the fourth-largest textbook publisher in the United States, by securing private investment and assuming over $1.5 billion in debt. The new company will be known as HM Rivergroup.
Houghton Mifflin, which was created by the 1880 merger of publishers Ticknor and Fields and Henry Houghton’s Riverside Press, publishes poets Donald Hall and Glyn Maxwell and fiction writers Tim O’Brien and John Edgar Wideman, among others. The company was owned by three private investment groups, which bought it in 2002 from the French media conglomerate Vivendi for approximately $1.7 billion.