Letts sold to HarperCollins

<p>HarperCollins has bought the education businesses Letts, Lonsdale, and Leckie &amp; Leckie for &pound;10m, their parent company Huveaux has disclosed.</p><p>Huveaux said the deal represented an &quot;opportunity to divest the business to a leading specialist with a commitment to the education sector on terms which are attractive to Huveaux when measured in the context of the recent performance of the Education Division&quot;.</p><p>HarperCollins said the acquisition would take it to number three in the UK education market. The businesses will be added to Collins Education and will be run by its managing director, Nigel Ward. Harper could not say whether the businesses will move from their existing offices to or whether there would be any job cuts. Huveaux said the disposal was conditional on the completion of employee consultations and was expected to complete on or around 19th March 2010.</p><p>HarperCollins said it would keep the brand names of educational businesses, which specialise in study guides. Victoria Barnsley, c.e.o. and publisher of HarperCollins, said: &quot;This strategic acquisition not only enhances our market share but puts us in a strong position for further growth in key areas, especially digital andinternational. Under the leadership of the managing director of the Collins Education business, Nigel Ward, and his team, we expect to see these very established brands, each with a strong heritage, flourish and expand.&quot;<br /><br />Huveaux&#39;s Education Division generated revenue of &pound;4.1m in the six months to end-June, or &pound;10.7m in 2008. It made a profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation from operations of &pound;0.2m in the six months, or &pound;2.3m in the year. <br /><br />Huveaux has had a troubled history since it was formed in 2001, and has been subject to numerous takeover attempts. John Van Kuffeler, founder and non-executive chairman, resigned in 2008, after admitting that its education division was performing below expectations.<br /><br />Huveaux bought UK revision guide publisher Lonsdale in 2003 for an initial cash sum of &pound;5m, plus a deferred payment of up to &pound;1.8m. It bought Letts and Leckie and Leckie in 2006 for &pound;12m, with the aim of developing digital learning projects. Before that BPP sold Letts to Granada Media for &pound;28m in 1999.<br /><br />Huveaux added that the proceeds of the sale would be used to repay all of the company&#39;s outstanding debt. As at 31 December 2009, Huveaux had net debt of &pound;6.6m.</p>