Friday, April 03, 2009

NY publishing may be short-sited, but now Houghton Mifflin is short-handed

This just in...okay, it's already out there but Tony Lucki is retiring from Houghton Mifflin.

CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Tony Lucki, 60, is retiring on April 15 according to an internal memo reported by the WSJ. Barry O'Callaghan, the 39-year-old genius who built the parent company with a mountain of over $7 billion debt will make himself CEO, while still running Education Media & Publishing Group. Lucki will keep his title as nonexecutive chairman of the publisher, and O'Callaghan says "he's going to continue to be my publishing mentor."

"Our biggest challenge is the U.S. economy," O'Callaghan tells the Journal. "Our biggest customers are the states of Florida and California, and we all know what has happened to their sources of revenue regarding sales taxes and property taxes. But this is a timing issue. Core curriculums [sic] will have to be modernized." When the company renegotiated terms on their debt earlier this year, they said they expected flat revenue and 20 percent growth in ebitda this year.

The FT adds that "EMPG remains in talks to refinance $1.7bn of second lien debt on the operating company and $900m at the holding company level. The negotiations, which are expected to result in debt for equity swaps, are progressing well, a company spokesman said.

More details at The Wall Street Journal site but it is a pay-to-read site (sorry 'bout that).

One last thing: the new publisher of the one of our country's biggest educational publishers as well as one of our most outstanding literary presses used the phrase "core curriculums" in his interview? Um, I'll take curricula for $200.00, Alex.

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