Pearson Plc Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
Pearson plc, (Pearson) is an international education company with its principal operations in the education and consumer publishing markets. We deliver content plus assessments, powered by services and technology, in order to drive personalized learning at scale. We create and manage intellectual property, which we promote and sell to our customers under well-known brand names. We deliver our content in a variety of forms and through a variety of channels, including books and online services. We offer services as well as content, from test creation, administration and processing to teacher development and school software. Though we operate in more than 70 countries around the world, today our largest markets are the US (62% of sales) and Europe (14% of sales) on a continuing basis.
Pearson was incorporated and registered in 1897 under the laws of England and Wales as a limited company and re-registered under the UK Companies Act as a public limited company in 1981. We conduct our operations primarily through our subsidiaries and other affiliates. Our principal executive offices are located at 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, United Kingdom (telephone: +44 20 7010 2000).
Pearson consists of its worldwide education business plus a 47% interest in Penguin Random House.
Pearson is a leading provider of educational materials and learning technologies. It provides test development, processing and scoring services to governments, educational institutions, corporations and professional bodies around the world. It publishes across the curriculum and provides a range of education services including teacher development, educational software and system-wide solutions, and also owns and operates schools.
From 1 January 2014 the Group has been run as one global education company, organized around three geographical operating segments (North America, Core and Growth).
Pearson owns a 47% interest in Penguin Random House, which was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Pearson and Bertelsmann to merge their respective publishing companies, Penguin and Random House. Pearson accounts for its interest in Penguin Random House on an equity basis.
On February 24, 2017, Pearson announced that it had issued an exit notice regarding our 47% stake in Penguin Random House to our JV partner Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, in the contractual window, with a view to selling our stake or recapitalizing the business and extracting a dividend.
On February 24, 2017, Pearson announced the intention to trigger the early repayment option on its $550m 6.25% Global Dollar bonds 2018. The bonds were fully redeemed on March 28, 2017.
On February 24, 2017, Pearson announced the intention to explore potential partnership for our English language learning business Wall Street English (WSE) and possible sale of our English test preparation business Global Education (GEDU) as we reduce our exposure to large scale direct delivery services and focus on more scalable online, virtual, and blended services.
Pearson’s mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning. Over the past decade, through a major program of organic investment and acquisitions, Pearson has become one of the leading education companies in the world, with unique geographic reach, product breadth and professional depth.
Pearson’s goal is to improve access and outcomes in education through our world-class capabilities in educational content and assessment, powered by services and technology.
Pearson’s strategy is to combine world class-capabilities in content and assessment with technology and services, to enable more effective teaching and personalized learning at scale.
In 2017 the strategic growth drivers set out below will guide our work:
Develop digital & services: Our strategy is to improve access and outcomes in education through our world-class capabilities in educational content and assessment, and services powered by technology. This will be focused on where we see the greatest potential for growth and scalability, and increasingly driven by our expertise in adaptive and personalized learning, enabling educators to be even more effective in reaching their students. Product and market strategy set our priorities for greatest growth and impact. Products are developed with insight from markets, to best meet local needs and opportunities.
Build market presence: One of our key strategic drivers is to build our market-leading presence in North America, the UK and other key markets. We also aim to build our leading presence in select developing markets to meet the growing global demand for education, while reducing the geographical complexity of Pearson in order to focus on fewer, bigger opportunities in education. Sales, branding and marketing functions build on our presence and reputation. Customer service and support creates valuable long-term relationships.
Deliver measurable outcomes: Our strategy is to improve access and outcomes in education. In other words, we want to help more learners learn more. Efficacy is becoming more deeply embedded into our strategy and is helping drive faster improvement in our content, assessment, services and technology. We are the only education company committed to efficacy with such rigor and at such scale and depth. Measuring and improving impact informs all strategic decisions, targeting areas with greatest potential need. Understanding customer and learner needs focuses investment on growth and impact opportunities.
Our short term priorities are to simplify our portfolio, control costs and invest in the biggest opportunities in education. Our constant goals are: to deliver growth by building a sustainable business, being a trusted partner and reaching more learners, to create long-term value.
In 2017, we will be focused on holding or gaining share in all our major markets — from seeking improvements in US higher education to building on the rapid growth we have achieved with virtual schools, online degrees, professional testing and the Pearson Test of English.
We have made Pearson a more focused business and lowered operating costs significantly over the past three years. We intend to continue to make Pearson simpler, more efficient and effective. We intend to further rationalize our platforms and tools, supply chain process and property portfolio; improve our efficacy and the speed with which we launch new product features; and ensure our digital and marketing capabilities are optimized and effective. These investments in stronger simpler platforms and in better learning outcomes should all contribute to better user experiences for the millions of teachers and students we serve.
Our recent announcement of our intention to exit our 47% stake of Penguin Random House reflects an intention that we will now focus entirely on our education strategy.
We are creating a more digital, services-led company that can maximize opportunities — and mitigate threats — by making education more accessible, affordable and effective for far more people. We are making Pearson a more efficient company, with digital services that support a new generation of personalized learning and which create subscription-style business models for us to renew and repeat sales.
Pearson is one of the leading providers of educational courseware, assessment and digital teaching and learning technologies. We provide test development, processing and scoring services to governments, educational institutions, corporations and professional bodies around the world. We publish across the curriculum and provide a range of education services including teacher development, educational software and system-wide solutions.
We report Pearson’s performance in three segments: North America, Growth, and Core.
North America Segment
Our North American business serves educators and students in the US and Canada from early education through elementary, middle and high schools and into higher education with a wide range of products and services: courseware including curriculum textbooks and other learning materials; assessments including test development and scoring; and services including the provision of online learning services. Pearson has a leading position in each of these areas and a distinctive strategy of connecting those parts to support institutions and personalize learning. Our largest market is North America, and across the US we are working with states, schools and colleges to help make education more effective, accessible and affordable for a diverse community of learners.
Our North America school business offers early learning solutions that help educators and families teach fundamental math and literacy skills; elementary and secondary imprints publish leading school programs in reading, literature, math, science, and social studies; and digital instructional solutions for pre K-12, such as enVisionMATH and Miller-Levine Biology. Through our Connections Education business we provide school management services and operate virtual and blended schools.
Testing plays an integral role in determining educator and student success and we are the largest provider of educational assessment services in the US. We mark large-scale school examinations for the US federal government and more than 25 American states, scoring billions of machine-scorable test questions and evaluating more than 111 million essays, portfolios and open-ended test questions every year. Working with educators and education advocates, our experts are helping to lead the development of Next-Generation Assessments that feature technology-enhanced items, performance-based assessments, and adaptive learning to foster problem-solvers and critical thinkers ready to compete in the global economy.
Our solutions include learning assessments to help gauge how students learn, talent assessments to help growing companies develop their workforce, and clinical assessments to help psychologists and speech/language/ hearing/occupational and physical therapists diagnose and monitor patients.
Our professional testing business, Pearson VUE (VUE), is a global leader in electronic testing for regulatory and certification boards, providing a full suite of services from test development to test delivery and data management. Pearson VUE offers exams through an extensive network of over 8,000 test centers across the globe, delivering the NCLEX exam for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the GMAT for the Graduate Management Admissions Council and numerous IT exams such as Cisco and CompTIA.
Pearson VUE also includes Certiport, the world-leader in IT performance-based exams delivered through a global network of academic test centers, and GED Testing Service, a joint venture with the American Council on Education to deliver a leading high school equivalency exam.
Our North America Higher Education business offers learning services for students, colleges and universities in the US. We provide learning tools and technologies. Our custom content and curriculum solutions offer educators the opportunity to tailor their programs based on the needs of students. We also offer workforce education products and flexible workforce development solutions to fill the growing skills gap and increased demand for quality certification prep training. College and career readiness is a K-20 issue, and it requires effective strategies employed in both K-12 and higher education. Our solutions are designed to help institutions retain students and prepare them for success in college and beyond.
Global digital user registrations of Mylab and related products are more than 13 million. The growing trend provides a wealth of data and analytics to improve the performance of individual students. Our advanced capabilities in data, analytics and adaptive learning, and our leading efficacy research, enable us to design a smart learning path for every student.
The demand for online learning is steadily rising and we see this area as one of the fastest growing parts of the market where we can see demand increasing significantly over the next few years, where we’ve already got a good presence and where we think we could deploy our courseware, assessment, and technology capabilities at scale. Pearson Online Services runs fully online undergraduate and graduate learning programs, such as the programs at Arizona State University Online. Likewise, at school level, Connections Education, our virtual school business serves tens of thousands of students through both virtual and blended school programs.
See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Results of Operations — Year ended December 31, 2016 compared to year ended December 31, 2015 — Sales and operating profit by division — North America” for a discussion of developments during 2016 with respect to this segment.
Our biggest Core markets are the UK, Australia, Italy, Germany, France and the Benelux countries. These are countries where we work closely with educators and policy makers to improve learning through creating curriculum, designing assessments and developing digital learning systems. Additionally we have many other markets, where we do not have scale ourselves, so we collaborate with others who share our values and commitment to efficacy to maximize reach and impact.
In the UK school market, we are the largest awarding organization offering academic and vocational qualifications that are globally recognized and benchmarked, with educational excellence rooted in names like Edexcel, BTEC and LCCI. Learners take our qualifications in many countries worldwide. We use our online marking technology to mark over 94% of examination papers and our ResultsPlus service provides detailed analysis of every learner’s examination results. We are also driving innovation through digital products such as Bug Club and ActiveLearn, and supporting skills for employability for progression in study, work and life.
Through Pearson College we are the only FTSE 100 company delivering degrees in the UK. Our students get the chance to learn from leading employers as well as experienced academics and subject experts, in the heart of a 21st Century business.
In the UK Pearson VUE works with professional and government bodies including the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Results of Operations — Year ended December 31, 2016 compared to year ended December 31, 2015 — Sales and operating profit by division — Core” for a discussion of developments during 2016 with respect to this segment.
Our aim is to take educational products and services and apply them at scale in countries such as Brazil, South Africa, China, India and other fast-growing economies. Around one third of our employees now work in these countries. We served over 600,000 students through our English language schools in China, Brazil and elsewhere, our partner schools in Brazil and India, and our higher education institutions in South Africa.
In Brazil we are leading primary and secondary education with our ‘sistemas’ or learning systems which include COC, Dom Bosco and NAME. In South Africa we run 12 of our CTI and MGI campuses throughout the country. We have over 8,500 students enrolled in courses ranging from undergraduate degrees in IT and sociology, to business diplomas and Masters courses in psychology. Our campuses prioritize digital learning with the majority of our students accessing their courses through tablet devises, and focus on learning outcomes that prepare students for employment opportunities in their chosen careers.
Pearson’s English assets make the Company the world’s largest English language learning business. MyEnglish Lab and other English courseware registrations were over 860,000. The businesses in Pearson’s English division include: Wall Street English (center-based learning for consumers); PTE Academic (computer-based test of English for study abroad and immigration); Pearson ELT (institutional English language courses including FOCUS, Poptropica English and Longman); and Grupo Multi (the leading adult English language training company in Brazil).
In 2014 Pearson English released the Global Scale of English, the world’s first common, global benchmark of English language learning. It measures English language progress on a numeric scale in a way that is consistent, granular and actionable for governments, corporates, academics, institutions and learners. The Scale has been created as the Open Standard for English that meets a global need.
In February 2017, Pearson announced the intention to explore potential partnership for our English language learning business Wall Street English (WSE) and possible sale of our English test preparation business Global Education (GEDU).
See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — Results of Operations — Year ended December 31, 2016 compared to year ended December 31, 2015 — Sales and operating profit by division — Growth” for a discussion of developments during 2016 with respect to this segment.