Pearson remains takeover target after mixed results

Media groups: Publishing and leisure company reveals unexpected losses at its US CD-Rom publisher 8 Rival looks to global on-screen expansion

Pearson, the media, publishing and leisure company, yesterday failed to shed its reputation as a potential takeover target, unveiling mixed results from its range of publishing, entertainment and television assets.

Despite posting pre-tax profits up 23 per cent to pounds 365.1m in 1995, the company, publishers of the Financial Times and a leading television programmer, detailed unexpected losses at its US CD-Rom publisher, Mindscape. It also had to rely on an extraordinary profit of pounds 131m from its sale last year of a stake in BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster, to shield a 5 per cent drop in its underlying performance.

The shares rose 7p on the day, to close at 664p. Henderson Crosthwaite reiterated yesterday its breakup estimate of pounds 9 a share.

Analysts were of mixed view on the results. Neil Blackley, at Goldman Sachs, said: "I like the company. It's got some tremendous brands and you can see those shining through."

But other analysts were concerned about the losses of pounds 6.9m at Mindscape, the US publisher of games and "infotainment" titles on CD-Rom, cartridges and floppy discs, bought for pounds 312m nearly two years ago.

Last December, the company warned analysts that operating profits would be down year-on-year in 1995, although no mention was made of Mindscape.

"Clearly, the results at Mindscape are unacceptable," Frank Barlow, chief executive, said. The company has hired the consultants McKinsey to undertake a review of the operations and recently announced the appointment of John Moore, formerly head of Penguin US, as chief executive.

The losses were linked in part to a high rate of return in the new year of product shipped in December for the all-important Christmas season.

"What we must do now is a detailed market study to decide where we should concentrate," Mr Barlow said.

The company's television operations, which include Thames Television and Grundy Worldwide, the independent producers, both performed strongly. Despite criticism last year of the pounds 175m paid for Grundy, Greg Dyke, chief executive of Pearson Televison, told analysts that the acquisition had been a great success.

Westminister Press, the company's regional publishing arm, was also a bright spot, helped by a cost-cutting programme. Lazard Brothers, the investment bank, also turned in a superior performance, and stands to do even better this year once it takes in fees due on its work for Granada on the pounds 3.8bn Forte bid.

Mr Barlow said that future acquisitions were likely to come in the television and media sectors, where management attention has been concentrated in recent years.

A recent restructuring has led to firmer lines of management control and the appointment to the main board of key executives, including Mr Dyke from Pearson Television and John Makinson, formerly managing director of the Financial Times, who replaces James Joll as group financing director on 1 April.

Mr Barlow dismissed reports, first published in the Independent, that Granada had contemplated a break-up bid for Pearson last year.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone