Pearson breaks up book arm in restructuring

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The Independent Online
PEARSON, the media and leisure group, is to restructure its publishing interests in a move that breaks up its Longman books division, writes Russell Hotten.

The company plans to combine the business and professional publishing arms of the Financial Times Group and Longman, and merge Longman's educational business with its US publisher Addison-Wesley. Longman's Ladybird children's publisher will be combined with Penguin.

Longman's chairman and chief executive, Paula Kahn, will leave the company at the end of the year.

Pearson said the shake-up would not affect 1994 results, with redundancy and reorganisation costs - of pounds 2m - cancelled out by roughly similar savings.

Pearson did not give any figures on job losses, said to be unavoidable at Longman's office at Harlow, which employs about 1,100 people. The company expects to complete the reorganisation by the end of the year.

Frank Barlow, Pearson's managing director, said: 'Though some jobs will go, the changes are driven by the logic of our decision last year to concentrate, as a media group, on opportunities in information, education and entertainment. Those are our key markets, and we have to line up our resources accordingly.' Recent Pearson profits showed strong contributions from BSkyB, Thames TV and Extel.

Longman's deputy chief executive, Peter Warwick, will head Pearson Professional, which will account for about 40 per cent of Longman's existing business and have annual revenues of about pounds 150m.

The new education publisher, Addison-Wesley Longman, will have revenues of more than pounds 360m. Penguin's worldwide revenues will be about pounds 370m after the addition of Ladybird.