Elsevier Puts Harcourt Up for Sale
Reed Elsevier put its Harcourt Education unit up for for grabs to the highest bidder this week, as the company announced its plans to focus in on its other segments.
Harcourt Education, which serves the Pre-K to 12th-grade assessment and trade markets, was the only Reed division to post a decline in sales last year. It saw its profits drop 20 percent in 2006.
According to Reed Elseveir’s 2006 financial report released yesterday, the company said it will focus more on its science and medical, legal and business segments.
The report said Harcourt’s business dynamics and strategy have increasingly differed from the other three divisions.
“The planned sale of our Harcourt Education division announced today sharpens our strategic focus and concentrates our resources on the digital opportunities across an increasingly synergistic portfolio,” CEO Crispin Davis said yesterday.
“The other units are going in a different direction and at a different pace,’’ he said.
As of this afternoon, one potential bidder appeared, according to the Financial Times— Barry O’Callaghan, of the Dublin-based educational publisher Riverdeep.
O’Callaghan made headlines in late November 2006 when a private equity firm he led bought Houghton Mifflin for $3.4 billion.