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Pearson plc.
Type Public (LSE: PSON
Founded 1844
Headquarters City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
Key people Glen Moreno, Chairman
Dame Marjorie M. Scardino, CEO
Industry Publishing
Products Books
Revenue £5,624 million (2009)[1]
Operating income £755 million (2009)[1]
Net income £462 million (2009)[1]
Employees 37,000 (2010)[2]

Pearson plc (LSE: PSON; NYSEPSO) is a London-based education and media conglomerate. It is the largest book publisher in the UK, India, Australia and New Zealand, and the second largest in the US and Canada. Marjorie Scardino has been CEO since 1997. The headquarters for Pearson is at 80 Strand, the former Shell Mex House. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Pearson is headquartered in City of Westminster, London, England.[3][4] Pearson also makes educational software.[5]



The Company was founded by Samuel Pearson in 1844 as a building and engineering concern operating under the name of S. Pearson & Son.[6] In 1880, control passed to his grandson Weetman, an engineer, who in 1890 moved the business to London and turned it into one of the world's largest construction companies.[6]

In 1919 the firm acquired a 45% stake in the London branch of merchant bankers Lazard Brothers, an interest which would be increased to 80% in 1932 during the depression years. Pearson continued to hold a 50% stake until 1999.[7]

In 1921 Pearson purchased a number of local newspapers in the United Kingdom, which it combined to form the Westminster Press.[6] In 1957, it bought the Financial Times[6] and acquired a 50% stake in The Economist. It purchased the publisher Longman in 1968.[6]

The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1969.[6] It went on to acquire the Penguin Group in 1970.[6]

In 1986, Pearson participated in the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium. BSB, choosing expensive methods and technology, was out-manoeuvered by Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television, which used proven and simpler technology, and leased transponders on Astra satellites. Sky gained an important foothold in the multichannel market and the eventual "merger" was effectively a takeover of BSB by Sky, the new company being renamed British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) a few years later.[8]

During the 1990s, Pearson acquired a number of TV production and broadcasting assets and rid itself of most of its non-media assets.

Pearson acquired the education division of Simon & Schuster in 1998.[9]

In September 2000, Pearson acquired National Computer Systems (NCS, Inc.) and entered the educational assessment and school management systems market in the United States.[10]

In January 2003, Pearson sold their 22% stake in RTL Group, the largest commercial television and radio broadcaster in the EU.[11]

Also in 2003 it secured control of Edexcel, the testing and assessment company.[12] Pearson subsequently purchased a series of other testing and assessment businesses, beginning with Knowledge Technologies in 2004,[13] AGS in 2005,[14] and National Evaluation Systems[15] and Promissor in 2006.[16] The combination of acquisitions and organic growth have made Pearson the largest assessment and testing provider in the United States.

Pearson sold its international government services (Pearson Government Solutions) division to Veritas Capital in March 2007. The new stand-alone company, Vangent, Inc, has its international headquarters in Arlington, VA, with offices in London, Rotherham, Yorkshire, and Canada.[17]

In May 2007 Pearson announced that it had agreed to acquire Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier for $950m in cash.[18] Due to Pearson's market-leading position in the US textbook market they were not interested in the main Harcourt business on account of regulatory concerns.[19] Pearson completed the acquisition of Harcourt Assessment on January 30, 2008, merging the acquired businesses into Pearson Assessment & Information.[20]

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.[21]


Pearson has three operating divisions: The Penguin Group, Pearson Education and The Financial Times Group.[22]


Penguin Group: trade publishing

Most Pearson trade publishing is done by the Penguin Group, which includes international imprints such as Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dial, Dutton, Dorling Kindersley, Grosset & Dunlap, Hamish Hamilton, Ladybird, Plume, Puffin, Penguin, Penguin Putnam Inc., Michael Joseph, Riverhead, [Rough Guides], and Viking.

Infoplease is a website devoted to "providing authoritative answers to all kinds of factual questions since 1938 first as popular radio quiz show, then starting in 1947 as an annual almanac, and since 1998 on the internet."[23]

Pearson Education: educational publishing, software, assessment and training

Some of Pearson's educational publishing imprints include Pearson Longman, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Benjamin Cummings, Pearson Scott Foresman.

New York Institute of Finance provides financial training.[24]

Financial Times Group: financial publishing


Edexcel is the only large examination board to be held in private hands. Edexcel's reincarnation as a profit-making company has led to criticisms and calls into question conflict of interest within the education system, as a private publisher runs an examining board which relies on set texts for many of its courses. However, Edexcel has also continued to endorse textbooks published by non-Pearson companies.[12]. Also Edexcel is still regulated by the British Government via the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) with an excellent track record in the area of innovation in assessment practices.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Preliminary Results 2009
  2. ^ About us
  3. ^ "Maps." City of Westminster. Retrieved on 28 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Investor Contacts." Pearson PLC. Retrieved on 28 August 2009.
  5. ^ "Main Page." Pearson School Systems
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Pearson History
  7. ^ Andrew Garfield (25 June 1999). "Dragging Lazards into the 21st century". The Independent. 
  8. ^ Granada and Pearson sell BSB stake BBC News, 1998
  9. ^ Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to acquire Simon & Schuster's Reference, Business and Professional Divisions
  10. ^ Pearson buys NCS
  11. ^ Pearson agrees to sell 22% stake in RTL Group
  12. ^ a b New marking fiasco
  13. ^ Pearson Knowledge Technologies
  14. ^ Pearson buys AGS Publishing
  15. ^ Pearson Education has agreed to buy National Education Systems
  16. ^ Pearson buys Promissor
  17. ^ Vangent Ltd (2007-03-09). "Pearson Government Solutions changes name to Vangent; expands service offerings to better serve government to better serve, commercial and international customers". Press release. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  18. ^ "Pearson acquires Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier". Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  19. ^ Fildes, Nic (2007-05-05). "Pearson pays $950m for two of Reed's Harcourt Education units". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  20. ^ Pearson Completes Acquisition of Harcourt Assessment
  21. ^ Pearson PLC (2008-02-22). "M & F Worldwide Corp. Completes the Acquisition of Pearson's Data Management Business". Press release. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  22. ^ Pearson SEC Form 20-F, Operating Divisions (2006) and SEC Form 20-F, Operating Division major holdings (2006)
  23. ^
  24. ^ New York Institute of Finance

External links


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