|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: PSON|
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
|Key people||Glen Moreno (Chairman)
John Fallon (CEO)
|Products||Publishing (books, newspapers, magazines)|
|Revenue||£5.069 billion (2013)|
|Operating income||£458 million (2013)|
|Net income||£295 million (2013)|
In May 2013, Pearson announced a new organization structure in order to accelerate their push into digital learning, education services and emerging markets. The change also supports the decoupling of the Penguin consumer publishing business into a separate entity with Random House forming Penguin Random House. The new structure combines the separate education companies, Pearson International and Pearson North America under one Pearson company. Pearson will organize around three global lines of business – School, Higher Education and Professional. The Financial Times Group and Pearson English will form part of Pearson Professional.
Pearson holds 47% in Penguin Random House, the world's largest consumer book publisher, and 50% stake in the Economist Group, the publishing group which specialises in international business.
Pearson has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of American Depository Receipts.
The company was founded by Samuel Pearson in 1844 as a building and engineering concern operating in Yorkshire under the name of S. Pearson & Son. In 1880, control passed to his grandson Weetman Dickinson Pearson, an engineer, who in 1890 moved the business to London and turned it into one of the world's largest construction companies. The company built the Blackwall Tunnel between 1892 and 1897. In November 1915, the firm began construction of HM Factory, Gretna, the largest cordite factory in the UK during World War I.
In 1919, the firm acquired a 45% stake in the London branch of merchant bankers Lazard Brothers, an interest which was increased to 80% in 1932 during the depression years. Pearson continued to hold a 50% stake until 1999. In 1921, Pearson purchased a number of local newspapers in the United Kingdom, 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 Penguin Books in 1970, and in 1972, Ladybird Books. In 1986, Pearson participated in the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium. BSB merged with Sky Television, the new company being renamed British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), a few years later.
During the 1990s, Pearson acquired a number of TV production and broadcasting assets (including former ITV franchisee Thames Television) and sold most of its non-media assets, under the leadership of future U.S. Congressman Bob Turner. Westminster Press was sold to Newsquest in 1996. Pearson acquired the education division of HarperCollins in 1996 from News Corporation and Simon & Schuster in 1998 from Viacom  and merged it with its own education unit, Addison-Wesley Longman to form Pearson Education.
In September 2000, Pearson acquired National Computer Systems (NCS, Inc.) and entered the educational assessment and school management systems market in the United States. That same year, Pearson acquired Dorling Kindersley, the illustrated reference publisher and integrated it within Penguin. In 2002, Pearson purchased Rough Guides, the travel publisher, and brought it under Penguin. In that year, Pearson merged its TV arm with CLT-UFA to form the Luxembourg based media conglomerate RTL Group, the largest commercial television and radio broadcaster in the EU, with the production arm forming FremantleMedia.
In January 2003, Pearson sold its 22% stake in RTL Group. Also in 2003 it secured control of Edexcel. Pearson subsequently purchased a series of other testing and assessment businesses, beginning with Knowledge Technologies in 2004, AGS in 2005, and National Evaluation Systems and Promissor in 2006.
In April 2004, Pearson acquired about 80% stake in Meximerica Media Inc for $16.5 million for the swelling U.S. Hispanic market.
In April 2006, Pearson acquired National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES; Amherst, MA), a provider of customised state assessments for teacher certification in the US. In May 2007, Pearson announced that it had agreed to acquire Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier for $950m in cash. Pearson completed the acquisition of Harcourt Assessment on 30 January 2008, merging the acquired businesses into Pearson Assessment & Information. In that same year, Pearson acquired eCollege, a digital learning technology group for $477m.
In February 2008, Pearson announced the sale of its Pearson Data Management Division (formerly the scanner manufacturing and servicing division of NCS Inc.) to Scantron Corporation (part of M&F Worldwide) which had been its main competitor. Pearson acquired Wall Street English for $145m in 2009. In 2010, Pearson sold its 61% stake in Interactive Data to investment funds managed by Silver Lake Partners and Warburg Pincus for $2 billion. In the same year, Pearson acquired school learning systems( sistema COC de ensino) division of Sistema Educacional Brasileiro (SEB) for $497m.
In July 2011 Pearson announced the creation of Pearson College, a British degree provider based in London and Manchester. Also in 2011, Pearson acquired Connections Education and agreed to sell its 50% stake in FTSE International Limited to the London Stock Exchange for £450 million. In May 2012 Pearson announced its pending acquisition of GlobalEnglish Corporation, a Silicon Valley, California Business English software and solutions company, in an all-cash transaction  and they were officially acquired by Pearson on July 5, 2012. In October 2012, Pearson entered into talks with rival conglomerate Bertelsmann, over the possibility of combining their respective publishing companies, Penguin Group and Random House. The houses are considered two of the "Big Six" publishing companies. On 29 October 2012, Pearson said it would merge Penguin Books with Bertelsmann's Random House to create the world's biggest consumer book publisher.
In May 2013, Pearson announced a new organization structure in order to accelerate their push into digital learning, education services and emerging markets. The change also supports the decoupling of the Penguin consumer publishing business into a separate entity with Random House (forming Penguin Random House). The new structure combines the separate education companies, Pearson International and Pearson North America under one Pearson company. Pearson will organize around three global lines of business – School, Higher Education and Professional. The Financial Times Group and Pearson English will form part of Pearson Professional.
Pearson is organised into three main business groupings: Pearson School, Pearson Higher Education and Pearson Professional (includes Financial Times Group and Pearson English). In 2011 Pearson generated total revenues of £5.9 billion, of which £4,390 million were from Pearson Education, £1,045 million from Penguin Group, and £427 million from Financial Times Group. In 2011, 60% of Pearson's revenues were generated in North America, 23% in Europe, 11% in Asia, and 6% in the rest of the world.
Pearson School was created when the School businesses from Pearson International and Pearson North America were merged in 2013. They provide textbooks and digital technologies to teachers and students across school ages. Pearson's school brands include BTEC, Bug Club, Edexcel, Fronter, GradPoint, PowerSchool, Schoolnet, and SuccessNet.
Pearson Higher Education
Pearson Higher Education was created when the Higher Education businesses from Pearson International and Pearson North America were merged in 2013. They provide textbooks and digital technologies to teachers and students across Higher Education. Pearson's higher education brands include eCollege, Mastering/MyLabs and Financial Times Publishing.
Pearson Professional includes the Financial Times Group, Pearson English, and Pearson VUE. The FT Group provides business and financial news, data, comment and analysis, in print and online. FT Publishing includes: the Financial Times newspaper and FT.com website; a range of specialist financial magazines and online services; and Mergermarket, a financial data vendor. The FT Group also has shareholdings in The Economist Group (50% stake).
Pearson English provides textbooks, digital technologies and education services to teachers and students across English-language learning. Pearson English is made up of: Global English, English language e-Learning for large corporations; Wall Street English, English language schools for business professionals; and Pearson ELT, English language textbooks and e-Learning business.
Pearson VUE is a provider in electronic testing for regulatory and certification boards.
Concerns exist around the amount of influence a for-profit company (Pearson) has on public education. Other concerns are around the multi-million dollar contracts, and in one instance, laying off teachers offset the high costs of testing.
 Edexcel is the only large examination board to be held in private hands. Rod Bristow is the leader of Pearson's UK education business, which includes Edexcel. Edexcel's change from a charity to a profit-making company has led to criticisms and calls into question conflict of interest within the education system. As a part of Pearson (a private publisher) Edexcel has produced qualifications which link to Pearson texts, although Edexcel also continues to endorse textbooks published by other companies. Edexcel is regulated by Ofqual (the regulator for UK qualifications).
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- 'Southern Blackwall: The Blackwall Tunnel', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 640-645. Date accessed: 17 March 2013
- John Alfred Spender (1977). Weetman Pearson, First Viscount Cowdray, 1856-1927. p. 222. ISBN 0-405-09801-4. "The Pearson firm took up the work of construction managers in October"
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- "Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to acquire Simon & Schuster's Reference, Business and Professional Divisions". Findarticles.com. 18 May 1998. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
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- Rebecca Smithers and Kevin Massy (30 June 2003). "New marking fiasco". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Pearson Knowledge Technologies". Pearsonkt.com. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- Pearson buys AGS Publishing[dead link]
- "Pearson Education has agreed to buy National Education Systems". Allbusiness.com. 1 May 2006. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- Pearson buys Promissor[dead link]
- "Pearson Acquires Newspaper Concern For Hispanic Market".
- "NES sold to global company". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
- "Pearson acquires Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier". Pearson. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
- "Pearson Completes Acquisition of Harcourt Assessment". Assessment & Information group of Pearson. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- "M & F Worldwide Corp. Completes the Acquisition of Pearson's Data Management Business" (Press release). Pearson PLC. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
- "Royal Holloway to validate new Pearson degree". Times Higher Education. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "FT owners plan college for business degrees". The Guardian. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Pearson’s world-leading English learning business strengthens its position in the corporate market". GlobalEnglish. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- Penguin and Random House in merger talks FT.com
- "Random, Penguin merging to form leading publisher". Reuters. 29 October 2012.
- "Annual Report and Accounts 2011". Pearson. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "Should Pearson, a giant multinational, be influencing our education policy?". The Guardian UK. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- "Pearson Draws Criticism From New York to Texas… Justified? Or Unjustified?". wiredacademic.com. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- "The Senior Management Team". Pearson Edexcel.
- Pearson plc Official website
- Pearson PLC companies grouped at OpenCorporates
- Mary H. Munroe (2004). "Pearson Timeline". The Academic Publishing Industry: A Story of Merger and Acquisition – via Northern Illinois University.