Pearson seeks buyer for medical publishing arm

Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's chief executive, is to accelerate the pace of change at the media conglomerate by selling its medical publishing division.

The move could raise around pounds 100m for Pearson, and would be the first disposal of a subsidiary since Ms Scardino's arrival at the beginning of the year. The money generated would be enough to cover the losses from the unauthorised discounting scandal at Penguin USA.

The medical publishing division, part of Pearson Professional, consists of two companies - Churchill Livingstone and Churchill Communications - and includes such publications as Gray's Anatomy. It is understood that Pearson has been canvassing various potential buyers. The company was available for comment yesterday.

Meg Geldens, media analyst at Merill Lynch, said likely suitors would include Mosby, Reed Elsevier, WB Saunders, and Wolters Kluwer. She estimated that Pearson's medical division generated around pounds 50m in annual sales.

Ms Geldens added: "I think it's a significant disposal because it's a real gem that's been with Pearson for a long time. However, it's probably too small to make the City happy."

Churchill Livingstone is the UK's largest medical publisher, and specialises in books, journals, CD-Roms and conferences. It has operations in the US and the UK. Churchill Communications deals in medical communications for pharmaceutical companies, and operates in Japan, the US and Europe.

Although some analysts expressed surprise that Pearson was contemplating the disposal of some of its core publishing interests, others said it made sense, as the medical division could not compete with giants such as Wolters Kluwer, which has bought six medical publishers in the last year alone.

Churchill Communications was also badly affected by the Kobe earthquake in February 1995, and ran up a pounds 7m loss that year, which in turn reduced Pearson Professional's margin from 11.6 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

Since Ms Scardino joined, Pearson has sold its 10 per cent interest in the Hong Kong television broadcaster, TVB, for pounds 111m; its 49 per cent stake in Troll Communications, a Canadian bookselling club, for pounds 55m; and more than two-thirds of its investment in Flextech for pounds 24m.

Pearson has also announced its intention to sell residual stakes in BSkyB and SES, the Luxembourg-based Astra satellite owner. The group indicated earlier this year that it would put up for sale its 50 per cent stake in Lazard Brothers, the merchant bank, but this is likely to take much longer. It is thought that Pearson may also be contemplating selling its 5 per cent stake in the Spanish government's digital television vehicle.

Ms Scardino has come under pressure to reorganise the business since she arrived earlier this year. City disappointment that she has not revolutionised the group so far has depressed the share price over the past few months.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine