IPO Report: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMHC)

Francis Gaskins  |

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMHC)  is a leading global provider of education solutions, delivering content, technology, services and media to over 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide.

Nine other operating company IPOs scheduled for this week. The full IPO calendar can be found at IPOpremium.

Manager, Joint managers: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo Securities.  Co-Managers: Blackstone Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, Piper Jaffray, Stifel, CastleOak, Ramirez.  S-1 filed November 1, 2013

HMHC scheduled a $274 million IPO on the Nasdaq with a market capitalization of $2.1 billion at a price range midpoint of $15 for Thursday, November 14, 2013.

HMHC was bought out of chapter 11 bankrupcy in June, 2012 by a group of private equity funds, headed by Paulson & Co.  100% of the IPO are proceeds are going to selling shareholders, even though HMHC isn't profitable.


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in IPO

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMHC)









HMHC is not yet profitable. The rating on HMHC is neutral to positive.


In May 2012, HMHC filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. On June 22, 2012, HMHC successfully emerged from bankruptcy as a reorganized company pursuant to a pre-packaged plan of reorganization.


HMHC is a leading global provider of education solutions, delivering content, technology, services and media to over 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide.

HMHC delivers its offerings to both educational institutions and consumers around the world. In the United States,

HMHC is the leading provider of kindergarten through twelfth grade, or K-12, educational content by market share. HMHC believes that nearly every current K-12 student in the United States has utilized HMHC’s content during the course of his or her education.

As a result, HMHC believes that it has an established reputation with these students that is difficult for others to replicate and positions it to continue to provide its broader content and services to serve their lifelong learning needs.

HMHC believes its long-standing reputation and well-known brands enable it to capitalize on consumer and digital trends in the education market through its existing and developing channels. Furthermore, since 1832,

HMHC has published trade and reference materials, including adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction books that have won industry awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, Newbery and Caldecott medals and National Book Award, all of which are generally known.


According to GSV Asset Management, the market for education content, media and services related expenditures is around $4.6 trillion globally The K-12 market, which is the market HMHC predominantly targets, represents 52% of these total expenditures.

Competitive advantages

HMHC believes its leadership position provides it with strong competitive advantages in this market. HMHC has established relationships with educators, institutions, parents, students and life-long learners around the world that are founded on HMHC‘s education expertise, content and services that meet the evolving needs of its customers.

HMHC’s portfolio of intellectual property spans educational, general interest, children’s and reference works, and has been developed by award-winning authors—including 8 Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners and 13 National Book Award winners—and editors with expertise in learning and pedagogy.

HMHC’s content includes characters and titles such as Curious George, Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail, The Little Prince, The Lord of the Rings, Life of Pi, Webster’s New World Dictionary and Cliffs Notes that HMHC believes are recognized in the United States and internationally.


Through HMHC’s network of over 300 sales professionals, it serves a growing list of institutional customers. HMHC believes that its combination of established relationships, content portfolio, and sales team creates a competitive position that is difficult to replicate.

HMHC sells its products and services across multiple platforms and distribution channels and is expanding its customer base beyond institutions, with an increasing focus on individual consumers who comprise a significant target audience of life-long learners.

Leveraging its portfolio of content, including some of HMHC’s children’s brands and titles that it believes are iconic and timeless such as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Curious George, HMHC creates interactive digital content, mobile apps and educational games, build websites and provide technology-based educational solutions.


HMHC’s larger competitors in the educational market include Pearson Education, Inc., McGraw Hill Education, Cengage Learning, Inc., Scholastic Corporation and K12 Inc.

5% stockholders

Paulson & Co. Inc. 22.9%

AnchorageFunds 13.8%

Avenue Capital Management II, L.P. 8.8%

Blackrock Funds 6.8%

Top Hat, Ltd. 5.0%

Use of proceeds

Selling shareholders will receive 100% of the IPO proceeds.

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