Case Study: Portfolio optimisation & business transformation for a global publisher

Global Education and Research Business | Professional and Trade Division

Transformed a traditional print-centric publishing division into a solutions and services business with highly attractive economics, focused on the needs of Professional Learners and Corporations

1. Client Benefits

  • Delivered the evidence and insights to enable the leadership team to overcome business performance limiting long held beliefs. Created an ‘actionable plan’ to deliver vision and strategic objectives
  • Developed clear vision and strategic objectives to capture market opportunity and mitigate risk and effectively executed transformation plan
  • Enhanced business case for future investment and acquisitions resulting in four acquisitions
  • A focused and simplified business that grew percentage digital revenues grew from c.10% to over 50% which enabled print revenue decline to be offset
  • Business became a growth engine. $m profitability was doubled every two years over six years which enabled the division to become the primary contributor to corporate $m CTP growth during period

2. Introduction to Project

  • Technology enabled disruption of the marketplace had introduced both business risk and opportunity, neither of which were being effectively managed and exploited
  • Print revenues were increasingly under threat due to user changing consumption and usage patterns and the loss of shelve space.
  • Digital revenues were not growing fast enough; the many small and highly speculative investments in ‘digital’ projects had little chance of yielding meaningful growth and returns
  • The above were exacerbated by the lack of an Enterprise approach to managing the investment portfolio
  • The challenge was to transform an unprofitable traditional publishing business into a profitable content enabled solutions and services business capable of growing to $1bn+

3. Solution

The Atlantic Insight engagement consisted of four key phases over five years:

1. Portfolio Alignment

  • Portfolio review, prioritisation and alignment to business strategy.
  • Investment strategies focused on Test Prep & Certification, Corporate Learning and CPD resulting in four acquisitions
  • Managed divestment of financially dilutive assets to minimize short term financial impact

2. Set up and management of PMO

3. Organisational alignment and operational effectiveness

  • Cost base alignment
  • Strategic outsourcing
  • Investment in new capabilities
  • Implementation of new operating model

4. Financial and operational transformation to support funding of investments

  • Investment in existing growth business and acquisition of new businesses
  • Creation of divisional operating plans
  • Development of new partnerships
  • Growth of global revenues

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