For several years Thomson Learning was my largest consulting customer, and while I have not worked closely with the group for several years, it would be inappropriate for me to analyse or comment. I just wish to note for the record, quoting directly and exclusively from Thomson’s own press release of October 25:

Thomson Announces Strategic Realignment of Operations; Company to Sell Education Businesses
Highly Focused Strategy On Electronic Solutions For Professionals Will Drive Growth And Enhance Shareholder Value

Strategic Realignment Highlights:

  • Thomson organizational realignment designed to focus on electronic workflow solutions strategy and drive operational efficiencies
  • Thomson to divest education assets: higher education, careers and library reference; corporate e-learning; and e-testing
  • Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer are appointed

Stamford, Conn. , 10/25/2006.  The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC) today announced a realignment of operations to sharpen its strategic focus on providing electronic workflow solutions to business and professional markets and better position the company for future growth. As part of the realignment, which becomes effective January 1, 2007, Thomson intends to sell its Thomson Learning businesses, including those serving the higher education, careers, library reference, corporate e-learning and e-testing markets.

“These initiatives are part of the natural evolution of Thomson as we pursue our strategic vision,” said Richard J. Harrington, president and chief executive officer of Thomson. “The market has validated our strategy of providing workflow solutions to business and professional customers, and we will continue to build on our strengths, reframe our markets and exploit technological innovations.

“Thomson Learning is an excellent business, but it does not fit with our long-term strategic vision,” Mr. Harrington said. “After the sale of Thomson Learning, the vast majority of our sales will come from electronic products and services with recurring revenues that are currently growing at high rates. In addition, the sale will provide us with substantial resources to take advantage of opportunities to accelerate the development of our core businesses and explore adjacent markets that are consistent with our strategy.”

Thomson Learning Sale
“Thomson Learning has leading positions in higher education, global reference, e-testing and corporate training,” Mr. Harrington said. “This well-managed and profitable business consistently delivers above-market growth and is well positioned to pursue opportunities in the global markets it serves.”

Thomson expects the divestiture of the Thomson Learning businesses to encompass three independent sales processes, each on its own schedule.
(The press release continues with details of divestitutres and staff changes.)

And so it goes…How sad. Print is certainly becoming a dirty word!