Bookstore sales rallied slightly in December from deep monthly slumps for most of 2020, but were still down 15.2% in the last month of the year compared to December 2019. For all of 2020, bookstore sales fell 28.3% from 2019, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. December bookstore sales were $879 million, down from $1.04 billion in December 2019. The 15.2% December drop was the smallest decline since February, when sales slipped 0.7% before the global pandemic struck. In March, sales fell 33.2% as retail lockdowns kicked in, then plunged 74.2% in April as stay at home orders fully took hold. May sales were slightly better, falling 60% from May 2019.
Eight years after it bought McGraw-Hill Education for $2.4 billion, Apollo Global Management has reached an agreement to sell the company to another private equity firm, Platinum Equity, for $4.5 billion. The proposed purchase comes about a year after MH and Cengage called off their merger following opposition from the Justice Department.
When Apollo acquired the publisher, MHE had revenue of about $2 billion; in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, company revenue was $1.58 billion and it had an operating loss of $135.3 million, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $372.9 million. Results for fiscal 2021 have not been released, but for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, revenue fell 5.4%, to $1.22 billion; still, the company posted net income of $118 million, up from a loss of $28.3 million. EBITDA in the nine months rose 6.4%, to $439.9 million.
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