|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: PSON]
London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
|Glen Moreno (Chairman)
John Fallon (CEO)
|Products||Publishing (books, newspapers, magazines)|
|Revenue||£4,874 million (2014)|
|£398 million (2014)|
|£242 million (2014)|
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.
1844 to 1915
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.
1915 to 1990
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 daily and weekly newspapers in the United Kingdom, which it combined to form the Westminster Press group. 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 buy paperback publisher Penguin in 1970, and in 1972, children's imprint Ladybird Books. In 1986, Pearson invested in the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium, which, a few years later merged with Sky TV to form a new company, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).
1990 to 2000
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.
2000 to 2005
In 2000, 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 September 2000, Pearson acquired National Computer Systems and entered the educational assessment and school management systems market in the United States.
In 2004, Pearson acquired about 80% stake in Meximerica Media Inc for $16.5 million for the swelling U.S. Hispanic market.
Pearson subsequently purchased a series of other testing and assessment businesses, including Knowledge Technologies in 2004, AGS in 2005, and National Evaluation Systems and Promissor in 2006.
2005 to 2012
In April 2006, Pearson acquired National Evaluation Systems, 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 2007, 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.
In 2009, Pearson acquired Wall Street English for $145m.
In 2010, Pearson acquired the 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.
Pearson entered into talks with rival conglomerate Bertelsmann, over the possibility of combining their respective publishing companies, Penguin Group and Random House in October 2012. 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.
2013 to present
In May 2013, Pearson announced a new restructuring plan to invest in digital learning and emerging markets, after predicting weaker earnings.
The change 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.
In July 2014, Pearson announced it had cut 4,000 jobs, representing 10% of the company's workforce.
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.
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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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- Pearson buys AGS Publishing[dead link]
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- "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.
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- 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.