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Posts Tagged ‘Thomson’

Reed Trades Harcourt Education Units to Pearson

The Independent reports that Pearson has bolstered its US assessment and international text book divisions after purchasing two Harcourt units from Reed Elsevier in a $950m deal. The acquisitions of the Harcourt units, which Reed put up for sale in February, follow a spate of activity in the education publishing market with Thomson and Wolters Kluwer also exiting the market.

Pearson has snapped up Harcourt Assessment, a Texan-based exam-testing company, to bolster its existing US assessment business. The testing market has been given a fillip by the “No Child Left Behind” Act in the US that has seen education authorities invest in more stringent testing, but the sector has been hit by local difficulties. Harcourt has recently lost key contracts in the testing space due to problems marking exams. In November, Reed warned that the business would miss its annual growth target for the second consecutive year. Pearson has also purchased Harcourt Education International, an Oxford-based publisher of text books that sells into markets including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Pearson has previously said it wanted to expand its education publishing business internationally.

The sale of the businesses is expected to complete in stages following regulatory review by the relevant authorities where required, which is also why Reed won’t be buying any more of Harcourt’s arms – so as not to upset the reg board…

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Thomson Gets Busy with Acquisition Possibilities

First there’s news on what Thomson is trying to unload, as Reuters reports that bids for the company’s educational arm have reached the final round, with Providence Equity Partners and Apax Partners rumored as the latest private equity partners to join together for an offer with the unit expected to fetch well above $5 billion thanks to strong demand. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Carlyle Group are also said to be interested, though a separate source close to the matter said the two firms are not partnered on the deal. Previous press accounts put the two together in the auction.

And speaking of Reuters, the Financial Times reports that a merger between the news organization and Thomson is well underway, as outline details between the two companies were disclosed on Tuesday, which would value Reuters’ equity at around 8.8bn pounds, or 697p a share. Under the plans Tom Glocer, Reuters’ chief executive, would become chief executive of the combined company, which would be called Thomson-Reuters. Richard Harrington, Thomson president and chief executive, would retire.

There are still a number of hurdles to be surmounted before a deal could be completed, and the two said “much has still to be resolved and there can be no assurance that agreement will be reached.” However, they said there was “a powerful and compelling logic” for a merger to “create a global leader in the business-to-business information markets”.