Pearson, the world’s learning company, today announced the acquisition of industry-leading digital learning technology from Smart Sparrow, an ed tech innovator based in Sydney, Australia. The deal values Smart Sparrow’s assets at US $25 million. The technology being acquired will enhance Pearson’s current capabilities in adaptive learning significantly, and will help accelerate the roll-out of Pearson’s Global Learning Platform (GLP). The GLP is an engine that enables Pearson and its partners to launch breakthrough personalized learning experiences for students more quickly and with better outcomes.
Dennis Publishing, the company behind the nation’s most trusted weekly news magazine, The Week, announced it will be launching a weekly news magazine for children — The Week Junior following its stunning success in the United Kingdom. The magazine will be the first news weekly print magazine in the United States since The Week launched in 2001. The magazine has one simple goal of making sense of the world to young people through intelligent and exciting content expertly written to grab children’s attention and get them reading. The bold launch comes at a time of increased public interest in the emergence of Generation Alpha, highlighted by the global spotlight shined on Greta Thunberg. Generation Alpha is smart, curious, connected and hungry to know — a perfect community for a new magazine that reflects their interest in the world.
Gap Inc. announced that the company no longer intends to separate Old Navy into a standalone public company. “The plan to separate was rooted in our commitment to value creation from our portfolio of iconic brands,” said Robert Fisher, Gap Inc. interim president and chief executive officer. “While the objectives of the separation remain relevant, our board of directors has concluded that the cost and complexity of splitting into two companies, combined with softer business performance, limited our ability to create appropriate value from separation.” “The work we’ve done to prepare for the spin shone a bright light on operational inefficiencies and areas for improvement,” continued Fisher. “We have learned a lot and intend to operate Gap Inc. in a more rigorous and transformational manner that empowers our growth brands, Old Navy and Athleta, and appropriately focuses on profitability for Banana Republic and Gap brand.
REI Co-op will open a new store in Boca Raton, Florida in fall 2020, bringing a wide assortment of quality outdoor gear, experiences and expertise for the region’s most popular outdoor activities. The new 23,000-square-foot store will be located at the Uptown Boca lifestyle center, at the southwest corner of Glades Road and 95th Avenue South in west Boca Raton. REI Boca Raton will also offer personal outfitting services that allow customers to connect with REI experts to get the gear they need for their next adventure. “Boca Raton and the surrounding area is known for its access to some of the best beaches in the country. From biking to swimming to a picnic on the beach, our goal is to offer everything our members and customers need to enjoy their favorite activities outside,” said Gail Kirkland, REI regional director for the South. “As we continue to grow and expand in the state, we look forward to further connecting Floridians to the outdoor places they love and investing in the places that make this region special.”
McClatchy announced that it has entered into a Standstill Agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, extending its current runway for negotiating a consensual restructuring with key stakeholders. As previously disclosed McClatchy has been in active restructuring negotiations with substantially all of its secured lenders and bondholders, as well as the PBGC, to address the future of its pension obligations and capital structure. The negotiations contemplate one or more deleveraging transactions, including some or all of the Company's Second Lien Term Loans and Third Lien Notes, which are secured by second and third liens on substantially all of the Company's assets. In support of these negotiations, McClatchy has entered into non-disclosure agreements with lenders holding approximately 87 percent of the Company's First Lien Notes and 100 percent of the Company's Second Lien Term Loans and Third Lien Notes.
In 2019 the weaker performance was driven by a number of factors: Unbundling of premium priced print and digital products for digital only formats as students are increasingly relying solely on the embedded eBook within platform based MyLab and Mastering products. Sales of bundle units declined 45% during 2019. Campus bookstores are buying less physical inventory due to changing student behaviour with over 50% of learners now preferring an eBook to a physical text. This is shown in good eBook growth.
Target Corporation announced that comparable sales in the combined November/December period grew 1.4 percent, on top of 5.7 percent growth in the same period last year. Comparable sales growth was driven primarily by traffic, combined with a small increase in average ticket. Comparable digital sales grew 19 percent in the November/December period, driven primarily by the Company's same-day fulfillment services, which together grew more than 50 percent from the comparable period last year. Brian Cornell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Target Corporation, said, "We faced challenges throughout November and December in key seasonal merchandise categories and our holiday sales did not meet our expectations. However, because of the durability of our business model, we are maintaining our guidance for our fourth quarter earnings per share. We also remain on track to deliver historically strong full-year results in 2019, including comparable sales growth of more than 3 percent and record-high EPS reflecting mid-teens growth compared with last year.
Bonnier Corp. has partnered with UK-based toy-maker Wow! Stuff to create a line of Popular Science-branded STEM toys, it was announced today by Elise Contarsy, Senior Vice President, Bonnier Consumer Products. The line will premiere at the International Toy Fair in New York in February 2020. This STEM toy line includes items that leverage many different aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math, and will target boys and girls age 5 to 12. The products will offer unique perspectives on subjects such as gravity, color change, heat, light refraction, and more.
New Jersey-based Wainscot Media announced this week that it has acquired a pair of B2B healthcare industry magazines from Scranton Gillette Communications for an undisclosed sum. The 8x frequency Imaging Technology News and bimonthly Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology, both of which trace their origins back to 1961, will join a Wainscot portfolio consisting of several dozen healthy living, luxury lifestyle and regional magazines, as well as the fashion industry B2B titles Earnshaw’s and Footwear Plus, which it acquired last May. Both magazines will retain their existing staffs and remain in place in their Arlington Heights, Ill. offices following the sale, Wainscot says, continuing to report to VP and group publisher Diane Vojcanin, who is joining the company from Scranton Gillette.
Meredith Corporation announced that Rachael Ray's magazine brand debuts a fresh, redesigned look and format under its new name: Rachael Ray In Season. Now available on newsstands nationwide and online for $9.99 an issue, the new quarterly issue boasts an upgraded paper stock, bolder photography, and new editorial sections and insider contributors. "This new format delivers richer, more seasonal, more of-the-moment content that's personal in every way. It's designed to be more of a keepsake and a collector's item," explained Ray. "To enhance the actionable ideas we provide, I've invited my inner circle to contribute to the magazine, like caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani, my dear friends and super-dads David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris, and my most trusted advisor on wine Rita Jammet."