Few portfolios are more diverse than that of EBSCO Industries (short for Elton B. Stephens Company). Among the conglomerate's more than 50 information services, manufacturing, and sales subsidiaries are magazine subscription and fulfillment firms, a fishing lure manufacturer (the world's largest), a rifle manufacturer, a specialty office and computer furniture retailer, and real estate holdings. Its main businesses revolve around the publishing industry: EBSCO operates a subscription management agency and is one of the largest publishers of digital information. It offers about 375,000 articles from more than 95,000 publishers worldwide. The family of founder Elton B. Stephens, Sr. owns the company.
EBSCO provides bulk subscription services for print and electronic journals, technical reports, books, and other publications to schools, general and specialty libraries, and professional offices. Its EBSCOhost is an online reference resource that makes available some 350 proprietary and licensed databases such as MasterFILE and MEDLINE. In addition, its EBSCO Discovery Service lets users search from a single search box across a range of content. The company also offers sales, promotion, telemarketing, and fulfillment services to publishers, and it owns commercial printers and supplies bindery and packaging products.
Among EBSCO's other eclectic subsidiaries are PRADCO Fishing, which makes fishing lures; Valley Joist, which produces steel construction materials; Vulcan Industries, which makes point-of-purchase displays; Knight & Hale, which makes hunting accessories; sign maker Outdoor Signs America; and real estate business EBSCO Income Properties.
The company has a strategy of growth through acquisitions that complement its existing businesses. In 2011 it acquired The H.W. Wilson Company, a provider of reference databases to the library market, in order to add to its subject indexing capabilities. Also that year EBSCO acquired MCM Group, a manufacturer and distributor of licensed products (such as mugs, tote bags, and stuffed animals) to college bookstores in the US and Canada.
The previous year EBSCO purchased The Music Index Online -- a guide to music periodical literature with data from more than 850 music periodicals from some 40 countries -- from Harmonie Park Press. It made the deal in order to expand its comprehensive package of music databases. Also in 2010 EBSCO added ebooks and audiobooks to its offerings with the acquisition of NetLibrary from OCLC Online Computer Library Center. – less