In releasing its financial results for the quarter ended October 31, 2023, Wiley once again highlighted the steps it is taking to create a leaner, more profitable company. A major part of the restructuring includes selling three non-core assets, and in November, Wiley reached an agreement to sell its university services business to Academic Partnerships. Depending on incentives in the agreement, the deal could reach as much as $150 million.
The company has also begun implementing what it termed its “rightsize and optimize” plan, under which it expects to save $30 million in the fiscal year that ends next April. The company said the “restructuring actions” have already started, including the publisher's consolidation, last month, of its marketing functions, and the restructuring of its global operations under one leader. Comment the layoffs, a spokesperson confirmed that it had cut 103 positions in its New Jersey headquarters as part of its global streamlining efforts.
The release of the company's second quarter results was overseen by Matthew Kissner, who took over as interim president and CEO in October after Brian Napack resigned. In prepared remarks, Kissner said that the results met expectations, and that he expected improvement in the second half of the year. The full benefits of the overhaul, Kissner said, will kick in for fiscal 2025 and 2026.
In the quarter, sales from ongoing operations fell 4%, to $492.8 million, from the second quarter of fiscal 2023, and operating income dropped to $46.2 million, from $57.4 million. The decline was due in part to an increase in restructuring and related charges, which were $25.1 million, up from $14 million a year ago. (Wiley also noted that one reason for an increase in corporate expenses was higher executive severance costs).
In its two ongoing groups, sales in Wiley’s Research unit fell 5%, to $258 million, which the company said was mainly due to the "publishing pause" in its Hindawi unit—undertaken after Wiley discovered "compromised" articles in several of its issues—as well as a softer recruiting market. Those declines offset growth in Wiley's open access publishing program. In the quarterly conference call, Kissner said that Wiley expects Hindawi's sales to fall $35 million, to $40 million, and that it has begun "sunsetting" the Hindawi brand and plans to merge its operations into other Wiley groups.
In the Learning group, sales rose 7%, to $149 million. Sales were up 8% in the academic division. led by higher digital courseware sales. Revenue in the professional division rose 4% helped by what Wiley said was an ”improved channel environment,” fewer returns, and solid sales of its Dummies series.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the number of layoffs in New Jersey.