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Pearson targets digital learning

by LLB Editor
8th Mar 21 10:45 am

For a company whose focus is on education it seems somewhat odd that a planned focus in three core markets – digital learning tools, workforce skills gaps and demand for accreditation and certifications – has resulted in a structure with five different divisions.

But that’s the formula new chief executive Andrew Bird has produced to revive a business which has endured a patchy few years littered with profit warnings.

“Another interesting feature of Pearson’s new strategy is a big reduction in its property footprint as it plans to adapt to more home working,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.

“Pearson’s move follows in the footsteps of other major companies such as banking firms Lloyds and Barclays and could well send a chill through the office property space.

“Pearson’s central problem has been the structural decline of the academic textbook market. Previously the sale of these expensive tomes was extremely lucrative for Pearson, but now much more learning is taking place online.

“Pearson’s indifferent performance has seen the company become one of the more heavily shorted firms on the UK market.

“Pearson is working hard to become a beneficiary rather than a victim of the shift towards a more digital education sector – which like many trends has been accelerated by the pandemic. It has already invested heavily in this area which is a good start.

“If former Disney man Bird can lead the kind of comeback for Pearson that could grace a Hollywood movie, shareholder murmurings about his salary and California residence will likely die down.”

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