Reed is also taking a $300 million stake in Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group, which will leave it with an 11.8 per cent of the common stock in the enlarged company. Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep is privately held, with a range of backers including the Irish stockbrokers J & E Davy. Existing investors put up $23 million of equity financing to help to meet the $3.7 billion cash requirement for the purchase.
Also of note, there was never a deal book circulated which recalls the initial analyst commentary when Reed announced the sale earlier in the year and O'Callaghan was heard commenting that he wanted the business. Given the timing of his 'reverse acquisition' of Houghton Mifflin there was general belief that he wouldn't be able to do it. Nevertheless here we are.
It will be an interesting company to watch: Riverdeep has a background in electronic publishing which represents the challenge facing both HM/Houghton and Thomson Learning as they attempt to catch Pearson. The dynamism of the educational publishing market will accelerate over the next five years as these three business transform the way educational material is delivered, the manner in which students learn and the way education is organized and measured.