Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ramped up its cost cutting initiatives yesterday, a process that involved laying off approximately 20 people in its trade division, according to sources. There was no word on the number of jobs eliminated in the much bigger educational publishing business.
An HMH spokesperson would not comment on the number of jobs terminated at the company, but did acknowledge that the publisher is "taking steps to improve our operational efficiency and right-size our cost-structure." The spokesperson continued: "We have initiated a series of organizational changes that will help simplify our business, better serve our customers and enable us to reinvest for growth. Such changes always require difficult decisions regarding roles and responsibilities of our talented colleagues.”
The layoffs come one week after HMH said, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that it would be cutting 8-10% of its workforce as part of a corporate overhaul. At the end of 2016, HMH had about 4,500 employees.
In March, HMH began laying off staff; in that round of layoffs, five jobs in its trade division were cut. The most recent cuts came across all trade departments with half of the reductions taking place in the adult group and the other half in the children's group. The HMH spokesperson said the organizational changes at the publisher will "touch all locations and business areas.” The spokesperson added that HMH is "very proud of its trade division... our strategy is designed to help us be a stronger company as a whole.”
In last week’s SEC filing, HMH said it expects to take charges of between $14 million and $16 million related to severance and other termination costs. HMH also plans to take $12 million to $13 million in charges related to reducing its office space, and $15 million to $16 million in charges for other restructuring expenses.
When the reorganization is complete, HMH said it expects to save between $70 million and $80 million annually, beginning in 2019. Previously, HMH said it expected to complete most of its “organizational design changes” by the end of this May.
For more details on the layoffs in HMH’s children’s division, click here.