Pearson will switch from selling to schools to selling to students

Educational publisher Pearson is to change from selling mainly to schools and colleges towards selling directly to consumers, including students.

Pearson’s CEO Andy Bird (pictured) has announced that the educational-publishing company will overhaul its business to draw a line under a “tumultuous decade”, says Bethan Staton in the Financial Times: it “issued seven profit warnings in as many years”. 

The plan is to shift from selling mainly to schools and colleges towards selling directly to consumers, including students. The company is also looking to take advantage of what it sees as the growing demand for “lifelong learning” as workers start to spend more time continuously upgrading their skills throughout their careers. These changes may cause Pearson some short-term pain, says Simon Duke in The Times. Bird says restructuring the company into five divisions, including a new consumer division, will cost “between £40m and £70m this year”. At the same time the decision to slash office space, to take advantage of a move towards remote working, will “reduce reported profits by about £130m this year”, although it will also cut long-term overheads.

Bird will have to “move quickly to keep investors on side”, especially when patience has already been “tested” over his pay packet, says Ben Woods in The Daily Telegraph. Another concern is whether Pearson’s success in selling to the college market can extend to the “super competitive” lifelong-learning market, especially since the company has “stoked up expectations” of a “Netflix of Education”-style revolution before, only to leave investors “wanting”. Still, it’s a necessary gamble: lifelong learning “is clearly where the growth is”. 

Recommended

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?
Share tips

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?

Tobacco company Imperial Brands boasts an impressive dividend yield, and the shares look cheap. But investors should beware, says Rupert Hargreaves. H…
20 May 2022
What's behind Sri Lanka’s crippling debt crisis?
Emerging markets

What's behind Sri Lanka’s crippling debt crisis?

Sri Lanka has been hit by a triple whammy of economic shocks and has gone to the IMF for a bailout. It may just be the first domino to fall in a globa…
20 May 2022
Investing in drugmakers: uncommon profits from curing rare diseases
Share tips

Investing in drugmakers: uncommon profits from curing rare diseases

Treatments for medical conditions with only a small number of sufferers can still be very attractive for pharmaceutical companies and investors becaus…
20 May 2022
Share tips of the week – 20 May
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 20 May

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
20 May 2022

Most Popular

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100
Income investing

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100

Rupert Hargreaves looks at the FTSE 100’s top yielding stocks for income investors to consider.
18 May 2022
Aviva: a share for income investors to tuck away
Share tips

Aviva: a share for income investors to tuck away

Insurance giant Aviva is one of the highest yielding stocks in the FTSE 100 – and it’s cheap, too, making it a tempting target for income investors. R…
18 May 2022
Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?
Inflation

Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?

At 9%, UK inflation is at its highest for 40 years – and it’s not going anywhere soon, says John Stepek. That means you need to be much more active a…
18 May 2022