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O'Callaghan says HMH restructured debts 'manageable'
08.10.10 | Katie Allen
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) c.e.o. Barry O'Callaghan said the publisher's debt was manageable as he outlined a host of new initiatives at Frankfurt. HMH staved off potential bankruptcy in February when bankers took over the company. The move to reduce the $7bn in debts saw O'Callaghan's equity stake diluted.
O'Callaghan said the group's finances had been "completely restructured" and could manage the amount of debt. The group was founded mainly through two debt-financed deals: 2006's $4.5bn reverse takeover of HM by O'Callaghan's Riverdeep, and the acquisition of Harcourt for $4bn a year later.
O'Callaghan laid out three main objectives in the company's ongoing strategy. The first is the growth of HMH's non-US business, using the strength of the US business as leverage. HMH has signed distribution deals in 11 Middle Eastern countries and opened an Asia-Pacific office in South Korea.
The HMH c.e.o. was in Frankfurt to help promote the launch of a $100m innovation fund to help develop new learning products.
As part of the strategy, O'Callaghan said the company planned to move more into the consumer market, as well as continuing with digital expansion. O'Callaghan said he had no plans for further acquisitions but added, "Never say never".