Pearson to Ax 3,000 Jobs, Slash Dividend -- Update

By Rory Gallivan Features Dow Jones Newswires

Education company Pearson PLC on Friday said it plans to cut around 3,000 jobs and would slash its dividend, as tough conditions in the industry are forcing it to reshape its business.

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The job cuts are the latest as part of a restructuring program as the London-listed provider of textbooks, language courses and other educational products and services grapples with issues including declining college enrollment and tough competition in the U.S.

Pearson, whose largest market is North America, signaled in May it would further reduce its workforce. Friday's cuts come on top of 4,000--representing 10% of the company's total head count--that it announced last year.

The company also Friday posted a pretax loss of GBP10 million ($13.1 million) for the six months ended June 30, compared with a GBP306 million loss a year earlier. Revenue rose to GBP2.05 billion from GBP1.87 billion.

It reduced its dividend to 5 pence from 18 pence in line with recently announced plans to cut the payout, but Pearson also said it would return GBP300 million to shareholders in buybacks following the sale of its stake in the book publisher Penguin Random House.

Pearson has undergone a yearslong revamp involving multibillion-dollar asset sales amid tough market conditions in the U.S. Those sales include the disposal of Pearson's Financial Times newspaper arm two years ago to Nikkei Inc. of Japan.

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Write to Rory Gallivan at rory.gallivan@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2017 04:07 ET (08:07 GMT)