LONDON — Shares in Pearson, the publishing and education group, crashed 23% in UK trading on Wednesday after the company issued a profit warning and said it would sell its stake in Random House.
Pearson owns a little less than half of the book group, which publishes the Game of Thrones series, in a joint-venture with Bertelsmann.
“With the integration of Penguin Random House complete, and with greater industry-wide stability on digital terms, we intend to issue an exit notice regarding our 47% stake in Penguin Random House to our JV partner Bertelsmann in the contractual window, with a view to selling our stake or recapitalising the business and extracting a dividend,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pearson said it saw an “unprecedented decline in Q4 2016 in our North American higher education courseware business,” knocking profit guidance for the full year by £180 million. The firm also scrapped its guidance for 2018.
The collapse in shares is the sharpest on record for Pearson, with data going back to 1986.
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