The whale-swallowing minnow that styles itself Education Media and Publishing Group is exhibiting some troubling behavior. The little fish is cutting itself, over and over, in a bid to deal with extreme stress.
The Wall Street Journal claims that 700 cuts have been inflicted in the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt arm (or fin, if you will). It came out some weeks ago that HMH wasn't buying new adult trade manuscripts for future publication, which suggests a bout of literary anorexia on top of the self-mutilation.
Sure there's a chance that someone would snap up the adult trade division, as if there's any kind of deal going down anywhere in the world these days. Credit Suisse might have a new fish on the line that's interested in hooking a segment of HMH, but who would be willing to take a chance, unless it's someone who thinks they could buy cheap, sell off the remaining assets, and make a profit as they walk out the door.
Until such a sale becomes reality, the minnow will inflict another gash, starve another day, hoping to slim down to a fighting weight. There is a risk, of course, that the minnow could become too weak and find that it can't keep up with the competition. Those who purchase educational materials are always looking for the newest, most innovative products, and if HMH isn't putting out new and innovative, sales won't climb.
Barry O'Callaghan's dream of owning the biggest educational publishing material conglomerate in the world is in danger of turning its belly to the sky. Unless he could somehow convince the U.S. Congress that he's in need of a bail-out.....HMH Bank and Trust, anyone?