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Milner-Fenwick acquired by national patient education company

Milner-Fenwick, a Hunt Valley firm that makes educational films for medical professionals, has been acquired by The Wellness Network, which owns in-hospital television and digital channels.

Under the deal, the 65-year-old family-owned business will maintain its offices in Hunt Valley and continue producing videos as a part of The Wellness Network, which is based in Wisconsin. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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David Milner, the company's president and son of its founder, Ervin Milner, said the move will help the small company, which employs between 20 and 30 people, meet growing customer demand for videos across multiple platforms, such as television, tablets and smartphones.

"This whole marketplace is consolidating and looking for more complete solutions. For a small company like ours ... it's difficult to execute across all the areas," Milner said.

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Milner and his brother, Richard Milner, the company's CEO, will stay on with the firm.

The Wellness Network has a library of 2,800 videos and print materials available through channels such as the Patient Channel and the Newborn Channel at more than 2,300 hospitals. The videos and other instructional tools are designed to educate patients about wellness, medication adherence and other health topics that could help them once they leave the hospital.

Milner-Fenwick will bring to the partnership an in-house video production team, in addition to its hospital and health care clients, and a library of 690 videos.

"The addition of Milner-Fenwick's video library and seasoned education and production professionals further accelerates our ability to deliver meaningful, cost-effective solutions to assist health care organizations in improving patient outcomes by delivering the highest quality targeted and customized patient education programs," said Dave Ross, CEO of The Wellness Network, in a statement.

Milner Productions was founded in 1952 after Ervin Milner returned home from Army posts in Saipan and Guam during World War II, where he became interested in photography and motion pictures.

The company's name was changed to Milner-Fenwick in the late 1950s, after Robert Fenwick, an animator from Pittsburgh, joined the company.

The firm initially produced documentaries and commercials on a range of topics, including the Baltimore Colts' NFL championship bid in 1965 and a biopic about then Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Milner-Fenwick's 1960 film "Beyond Silence," a documentary about Gallaudet University's program for deaf students, was nominated for an Academy Award.

The company shifted to patient education after the success of a series done for OB/GYN practices in 1974. More recently, the company has focused on videos for hospitals.

David and Richard Milner took over the company in the 1980s, though Ervin remained active with the company. He died in 2012.

Milner said the decision to sell the company that has been in the family for decades was difficult, but one he thinks his father would have supported.

"I think he would be very proud and maybe a little disappointed it couldn't pass to the next generation," Milner said. "But I could just see him saying, 'David you did a great job.'"

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