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Waverly Inc. buys maker of computer workstations


Waverly Inc. announced yesterday it had purchased de'Medici Systems Inc., a maker of computerized workstations specializing in medical safety training.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

But Arthur E. Newman, Waverly's executive vice president, said Waverly used some of the cash it had remaining from the sale of its printing division to pay cash and a share of future earnings for de'Medici.

Waverly plans to move one of de'Medici's three employees to Baltimore, and retain the company's president and chief operating officer as consultants, Mr. Newman said.

Waverly, a Baltimore-based medical publisher, already sells hospitals software programs that teach nurses how to handle different symptoms, so it believes it can easily incorporate de'Medici's evacuation, AIDS and other safety training programs, Newman said.

De'Medici, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has sold its $10,000 computers to about 50 hospitals, but there is room to grow, Mr. Newman said.

"There are 6,500 hospitals in the U.S. And there is only some modest regional competition" in the training market.

"That's one of the reasons this looked so enticing," he said.

De'Medici's sales are on a pace to top $1 million this year, he said.

Waverly's stock, which has been trading at an all-time-high range in recent weeks, closed down 50 cents in Nasdaq trading after the announcement yesterday, finishing the day at $35.75.

Bruce Jaffe, de'Medici's chief operating officer, said he was happy with the purchase because it means de'Medici will be able to expand.

"This is a very friendly situation," he said.

He said the company, which spent its first two years developing programs that teach everything from fire evacuation routes to AIDS safety, became profitable in 1994.

De'Medici had been looking for a partner to help it expand since last year, and had been approached by both large and small suitors, Mr. Jaffe said.

The company accepted Waverly's offer because Waverly already sells books, trade journals and other information services to hospitals across the country.

"Waverly's expertise is in exactly where we want to go," he said.

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