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Pearson sells slice of Penguin for $1bn

Pearson has sold a 22% stake in Penguin Random House, the world’s biggest publisher, with titles ranging from Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Oliver and The Girl on the Train. The deal values Penguin at $3.55bn (£2.75bn).

Pearson put its holding in PRH up for sale in January after issuing a string of profit warnings in its educational publishing business, and has sold the stake to partner Bertelsmann.

The beleaguered FTSE 100 company, which will make almost $1bn from the sale of the stake, undertook a £2.4bn merger of Penguin with Random House in 2012, taking a 47% stake in the enlarged business. PRH is responsible for one in four books sold and the sale of 800m paper, digital and audiobooks every year.

Pearson, which reported the largest loss in its history in February, has sold the stake to strengthen its balance sheet and invest in its move to become a digital educational publisher. As well as the $968m proceeds from the sale Pearson will receive a further $66m in April, following a recapitalisation of PRH.

“The future of Pearson is as the world’s digital learning company,” said John Fallon, the chief executive of Pearson. “It is challenging, it is difficult. We need to make...