A number of big summer bestsellers, a surge in interest in books on social justice, and ongoing demand by parents for children’s books that both educate and entertain combined to continue to push up unit sales of print books through this year’s third quarter. According to NPD BookScan, print unit sales rose 6.4% for the nine months ended Oct. 3, 2020 over the comparable span in 2019. Unit sales jumped 29.1% in the juvenile nonfiction category, led by huge demand for Big Preschool Workbook, which sold nearly 649,000 print copies in the period, and My First Learn-to-Write Workbook by Crystal Radke, which sold almost 595,000 copies.
Learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (“HMH” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: HMHC) announced today that it has paid down approximately $337 million in principal of its outstanding debt with the net proceeds of its recent divestiture of HMH Books & Media, its consumer publishing business.
Following the completion of the required Asset Sale Offer and Collateral Asset Sale offer on June 8, HMH has reduced the outstanding principal amount of its Senior Secured Notes due 2025 (the “Notes”) to approximately $303 million. Additionally, via a combination of mandatory and voluntary prepayments, the Company has reduced the outstanding principal amount of its Senior Secured Term Loan Facility due 2024 (the “Term Loan Facility”) to approximately $22 million. All prepayments were completed at a price of 100% of the principal amount.
“HMH has made excellent progress in transforming its capital structure to align it with our Digital First, Connected strategy. The added strategic flexibility derived from our debt paydown supports our ability to supplement strong organic growth with small, tuck-in acquisitions to fuel inorganic growth,” said Joe Abbott, HMH’s Chief Financial Officer. “With a strong balance sheet, disciplined capital allocation approach, and continued focus on investing for efficiency, we are confident that HMH is well-positioned for growth and substantial free cash flow generation in 2021 and beyond.”