Pearson PLC

Pearson PLC

Infobox_Company | company_name = Pearson plc.
company_type = Public (lse|PSON
foundation = 1844
location = London, England, UK
key_people = Lord (Dennis) Stevenson, Chairman
Glen Moreno, Chairman
Dame Marjorie M. Scardino, CEO, Michael, Viscount Cowdray
num_employees = 29,000 (2007)
revenue = profit£4,218 million GBP (2007)
operating_income=profit£634 million GBP (2007)
net_income = profit£310 million GBP (2007)
industry = Publishing
products = Books
homepage = []

Pearson plc (lse|PSON; nyse|PSO) is a London-based media conglomerate. It is the largest book publisher in the UK, India, Australia and New Zealand, and the second largest in the US and Canada. Marjorie Scardino has been CEO since 1997. The headquarters for Pearson is at 80 Strand, the former Shell Mex House. It is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


The Company was founded by Samuel Pearson in 1844 as a building and engineering concern operating under the name of "S. Pearson & Son". [ Pearson History] ] In 1880, control passed to his grandson Weetman, an engineer, who in 1890 moved the business to London and turned it into one of the world's largest construction companies.

In 1921 Pearson purchased a number of local newspapers in Britain, which it combined to form the Westminster Press. In 1957, it bought the "Financial Times" and acquired a 50% stake in "The Economist". It purchased the publisher Longman in 1968.

The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1969. It went on to acquire the Penguin Group in 1970.

In 1986, Pearson participated in the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium. BSB, choosing expensive methods and technology, was out-manouvered by Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television, which used proven technology, lower bitrates and leased transponders on Astra satellites. Sky gained an important foothold in the multichannel market and the eventual "merger" was effectively a takeover of BSB by Sky, the new company being renamed British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) a few years later. [ [ Granada and Pearson sell BSB stake] BBC News, 1998]

During the 1990s, Pearson acquired a number of TV production and broadcasting assets and rid itself of most of its non-media assets.

Pearson acquired Simon & Schuster in 1998 immediately offloading all but its education business. [ [ Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to acquire Simon & Schuster's Reference, Business and Professional Divisions] ]

In January 2003, Pearson sold their 22% stake in RTL Group, the largest commercial television and radio broadcaster in the EU. [ [ Pearson agrees to sell 22% stake in RTL Group] ]

Also in 2003 it secured control of Edexcel, the testing and assessment company. [ New marking fiasco] ] Pearson subsequently purchased a series of other testing and assessment businesses, beginning with Knowledge Technologies in 2004, [ [ Pearson Knowledge Technologies] ] AGS in 2005, [ [ Pearson buys AGS Publishing] ] and National Evaluation Systems [ [ Pearson Education has agreed to buy National Education Systems] ] and Promissor in 2006. [ [ Pearson buys Promissor] ] The combination of acquisitions and organic growth have made Pearson the largest assessment and testing provider in the United States.

Pearson sold its international government services (Pearson Government Solutions) division to Veritas Capital in March 2007. The new stand-alone company, Vangent, Inc, has its international headquarters in Arlington, VA, with offices in London, Rotherham, Yorkshire, and Canada. [cite press release |title=Pearson Government Solutions changes name to Vangent; expands service offerings to better serve government to better serve, commercial and international customers |publisher=Vangent Ltd |date=2007-03-09 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-08]

In May 2007 Pearson announced that it had agreed to acquire Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier for $950m in cash. [cite web |url= |title= Pearson acquires Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier |accessdate=2007-05-08 |format= |work= ] Due to Pearson's market-leading position in the US textbook market they were not interested in the main Harcourt business on account of regulatory concerns. [cite news |first=Nic |last=Fildes |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Pearson pays $950m for two of Reed's Harcourt Education units |url= |work= |publisher=The Independent |date=2007-05-05 |accessdate=2007-05-08 ]

In February 2008 Pearson announced the sale of its Pearson Data Management Division to M&F Worldwide, the corporate parent of Scantron Corporation, and this division is being folded into and managed by Scantron Corporation. [cite press release |title=M & F Worldwide Corp. Completes the Acquisition of Pearson's Data Management Business |publisher=Pearson PLC |date=2008-02-22 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-08]


Pearson has three operating divisions: The Penguin Group, Pearson Education and The FT Group and [ [ Pearson SEC Form 20-F, Operating Divisions (2006)] and [ SEC Form 20-F, Operating Division major holdings (2006)] ]

Penguin Group: trade publishing

Most Pearson trade publishing is done by the Penguin Group, which includes international imprints such as Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial, Dutton, Dorling Kindersley, Grosset & Dunlap, Hamish Hamilton, Ladybird, Plume, Puffin, Penguin, Penguin Putnam Inc., Michael Joseph, Riverhead, Rough Guides, and Viking.

Infoplease is a website devoted to "providing authoritative answers to all kinds of factual questions since 1938 first as popular radio quiz show, then starting in 1947 as an annual almanac, and since 1998 on the internet." [ [] ]

Pearson Education: educational publishing and training

Some of Pearson's educational publishing imprints include Pearson Longman, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Benjamin Cummings, Pearson Scott Foresman.

New York Institute of Finance provides financial training. [ [ New York Institute of Finance] ]

Financial Times Group: financial publishing

*Financial Times
*Financial Times Business Group
*FTSE International (50% stake)
*The Economist Group (50% stake)


Edexcel is the only large examination board to be held in private hands. Edexcel's reincarnation as a profit-making company has led to criticisms and calls into question conflict of interest within the education system, as a private publisher runs an examining board which relies on set texts for many of its courses. However, Edexcel has also continued to endorse textbooks published by non-Pearson companies.


ee also

*Pearson Education
*Penguin Group
*Penguin Books
*Pearson Language Tests

External links

* [ Pearson plc Official website]

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