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READER'S DIGEST GOING PUBLIC

The most widely read magazine in the world is going to sell stock to the public.

But New Issues, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., newsletter that examines stock offerings, pans Reader's Digest's initial public offering, which is to be done sometime next month at $18 to $22 a share.

The prospectus says sales growth at the Pleasantville, N.Y., publishing empire is barely keeping pace with growth in the economy -- an anemic 7 percent in the last half decade, New Issues notes. "This isn't a growth company at all," the newsletter says. "It's a firm merely plodding along at the same rate of growth as the entire economy."

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