John Wiley is scaling back its professional/trade business and is looking to sell its most consumer-oriented lines including Frommer’s. In all, the assets being put up for sale generated revenue of $85 million in the fiscal year ended April 30, 2011, about 19.5% of the segment’s revenue, but only a fraction of Wiley’s total sales of $1.7 billion. Other categories on the block are culinary (cookbooks, including titles taken over from Meredith), general interest, nautical, pets (Howell House), crafts, Webster’s New World dictionaries, and CliffsNotes. The properties generated about $6 million in profits in fiscal 2011. Allen & Company has been retained to conduct the search for a buyer or buyers. Print, digital and online products are part of the sale.
According to Wiley, its strategic focus “will center on those opportunities that meet strong global demand for high-quality information for professionals and lifelong learning enabled by new technology.” The remaining P/T operations will focus on business, finance, accounting, leadership, technology, architecture, psychology, and education titles that appeal to global markets as well as the For Dummies brand.
“We plan to drive long-term growth, accelerate our digital transformation, and optimize our return on investment by investing in content and services that provide our customers in research, learning and professional practice with knowledge resources that help them to realize their professional and personal goals,” said Stephen M. Smith, Wiley’s president and CEO said in a statement.