|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: PSON, NYSE: PSO|
London, United Kingdom
|Key people||Glen Moreno (Chairman)
John Fallon (CEO)
|Products||Publishing (books, newspapers, magazines)|
|Revenue||£5.059 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||£515 million (2012)|
|Net income||£286 million (2012)|
Pearson is organised into three main business groupings: Pearson Education (digital learning, education publishing and services including Poptropica and eCollege); Financial Times Group (business information, including the Financial Times newspaper); and Penguin Group (consumer publishing, including the Dorling Kindersley and Penguin Classics imprints). It also holds a 50% stake in the Economist Group.
The company was founded by Samuel Pearson in 1844 as a building and engineering concern operating 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.
20th century 
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 and sold most of its non-media assets, under the leadership of future U.S. Congressman Bob Turner. Pearson acquired the education division of Simon & Schuster in 1998 from Viacom  and merged it with its own education unit, Addison-Wesley Longman to form Pearson Education.
21st century 
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 sold its TV production unit to form FremantleMedia.
In January 2003, Pearson sold its 22% stake in Luxembourg media conglomerate RTL Group, the largest commercial television and radio broadcaster in the EU. 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 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 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. As well, 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.
Pearson is organised into three main business groupings: Pearson Education (which comprises three main divisions: Pearson International Education, Pearson North American Education and Professional Education), Financial Times Group and Penguin Group. 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 Education 
Pearson Education was created in 1998 when Pearson purchased the education division of Simon & Schuster from Viacom and merged it with its own education division, Addison–Wesley Longman. Pearson Education provides textbooks and digital technologies to teachers and students across all ages. Pearson's education brands include Bug Club, Edexcel, Financial Times Publishing, Fronter, MyEnglishLab and BBC Active. Pearson's education brands in North America include Poptropica, eCollege, FT Press, MyLabs/Mastering, SAMS Publishing and Que Publishing.
Pearson Education is organised into three main divisions: Pearson International Education, Pearson North American Education and Professional Education. Pearson International is headquartered in London, UK, with offices across Europe, Asia and South America. Pearson North America is headquartered in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey with major business units based in San Francisco, Boston, Columbus, Indianapolis and Chandler. In 2011 Pearson International Education had revenues of £1,424 million, Pearson North American Education had revenues of £2,584 million and Professional Education had revenues of £382 million.
Financial Times Group 
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:
- Business Day and Financial Mail (BDFM) of South Africa (50% stake); and
- The Economist Group (50% stake).
Penguin Group 
Penguin Group is an international consumer publisher, which includes imprints such as Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial, Dutton, Dorling Kindersley, Grosset & Dunlap, Hamish Hamilton, Ladybird, Plume, Puffin, Penguin, Putnam, Michael Joseph, Riverhead, Rough Guides, and Viking. Penguin publishes around 4,000 titles every year and its range of titles includes classics, reference volumes and children’s titles.
On 29 October 2012, Pearson said it would merge Penguin Group with Bertelsmann's Random House to create the world's biggest trade book publisher – Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson will own 47%.
Edexcel is the only large examination board to be held in private hands. 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).
- "Preliminary Results 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "About us". Pearson.com. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- Jones, Philip (21 June 2010). "Pearson stays on top as world's largest book publisher". The Bookseller. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "Private equity to buy Pearson's IDC for $3.4 billion". Reuters. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "Pearson History". Pearson.com. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- '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"
- Andrew Garfield (25 June 1999). "Dragging Lazards into the 21st century". The Independent (London).
- "Granada and Pearson sell BSB stake BBC News, 1998". BBC News. 17 December 1998. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to acquire Simon & Schuster's Reference, Business and Professional Divisions". Findarticles.com. 18 May 1998. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Pearson buys NCS". Faqs.org. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Pearson buys Dorling Kindersley". BBC News. 31 March 2000. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- "Pearson agrees to sell 22% stake in RTL Group". Findarticles.com. 2001. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- 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]
- "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.