20-F 1 d429723d20f.htm 20-F 20-F
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iso4217:GBP xbrli:pure utr:Year xbrli:shares iso4217:USD utr:Month iso4217:BRL iso4217:EUR iso4217:GBP xbrli:shares iso4217:USD xbrli:shares pso:Member pso:Employee pso:Acquisitions
AS FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION ON MARCH 3
1
, 2023
 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
Form
20-F
 
 
(Mark One)
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
or
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
or
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
for the transition period from            to            
or
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report
Commission file number
1-16055
 
 
PEARSON PLC
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
England and Wales
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
80 Strand
London, England WC2R 0RL
(Address of principal executive offices)
Graeme Baldwin
Telephone: +44 20 7010 2000
Email address: companysecretary@pearson.com
80 Strand
London, England WC2R 0RL
(Name, Telephone,
E-mail
and/or Facsimile Number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of Class
 
Trading Symbol
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
*Ordinary Shares, 25p par value
 
PSO
 
New York Stock Exchange
American Depositary Shares, each
     
New York Stock Exchange
Representing One Ordinary Share, 25p per Ordinary Share
       
 
 
 
*
Not for trading, but only in connection with the registration of American Depositary Shares, pursuant to the requirements of the SEC.
 
 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
 
 
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
None
 
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock at the close of the period covered by the annual report:
Ordinary Shares, 25p par value
     715,733,241  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
Note — Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-accelerated
filer or an emerging growth company. See definition of “accelerated file”, “large accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company”, in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
☒  Large accelerated filer                ☐  Accelerated filer                ☐  Non-accelerated filer                
☐  Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with US GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b)  ☐
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing
 
☐  US GAAP
  
☒  International financial Reporting Standards as Issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board
   ☐  Other
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the Registrant has elected to follow:    Item 17  ☐    Item 18  ☐
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act):    Yes  ☐    No  
 
Former Auditor Firm ID   876      
 
Former Auditor Name
 
  PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP     Former Auditor Location     London, United Kingdom
Auditor Firm Id:   01438      
 
Auditor Name:
 
  Ernst & Young LLP     Auditor Location:     London, United Kingdom
 
 
 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          Page  
  

Introduction

     3  
   Forward-Looking Statements      4  
   PART I   

Item 1.

   Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers      5  

Item 2.

   Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable      5  

Item 3.

   Key Information      5  
   Risk Factors      5  

Item 4.

   Information on the Company      14  
   Business Overview      15  
   Recent Developments      15  
   The Group’s strategy      16  
   Operating Divisions      16  
   Operating cycles      16  
   Competition      16  
   Intellectual Property      17  
   Licenses, Patents and Contracts      17  
   Raw Materials      18  
   Government Regulation      18  
   Climate Change      18  
   Legal Proceedings      18  
   Organizational Structure      19  
   Property, Plant and Equipment      19  
   Capital Expenditure      20  

Item 4A.

   Unresolved Staff Comments      20  

Item 5.

   Operating and Financial Review and Prospects      20  
   General Overview      21  
   Results of Operations      22  
   Liquidity and Capital Resources      31  
   Accounting Policies      31  

Item 6.

   Directors, Senior Management and Employees      31  
   Directors and Senior Management      31  
   Compensation of Senior Management      32  
   Board Practices      32  
   Employees      33  
   Share Ownership      33  
   Disclosure of a registrant’s action to recover erroneously awarded compensation      33  

Item 7.

   Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions      33  

Item 8.

   Financial Information      33  

Item 9.

   The Offer and Listing      34  

Item 10.

   Additional Information      34  
   Articles of Association      34  
   Material Contracts      40  
   Exchange Controls      41  
   Tax Considerations      41  
   Documents on Display      44  

Item 11.

   Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk      44  

Item 12.

   Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities      45  
   American Depositary Shares      45  

 

1


Table of Contents
          Page  
   Fees paid by ADR holders      45  
   Fees incurred in past annual period and fees to be paid in the future      46  
   PART II   

Item 13.

   Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies      47  

Item 14.

   Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds      47  

Item 15.

   Controls and Procedures      47  
   Disclosure Controls and Procedures      47  
   Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting      47  
   Change in Internal Control over Financial Reporting      48  

Item 16A.

   Audit Committee Financial Expert      48  

Item 16B.

   Code of Ethics      48  

Item 16C.

   Principal Accountant Fees and Services      48  

Item 16D.

   Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees      48  

Item 16E.

   Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchases      49  

Item 16F.

   Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant      49  

Item 16G.

   Corporate Governance      50  

Item 16H.

   Mine Safety Disclosure      50  

Item 16I.

   Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections      50  
   PART III   

Item 17.

   Financial Statements      51  

Item 18.

   Financial Statements      51  

Item 19.

   Exhibits      57  

 

2


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

In this Annual Report on Form 20-F (the “Annual Report”) references to “Pearson”, the “Company” or the “Group” are references to Pearson plc and its consolidated subsidiaries, except as the context otherwise requires. “Ordinary Shares” refer to the ordinary share capital of Pearson of par value 25p each. “ADSs” refer to American Depositary Shares which are Ordinary Shares deposited pursuant to the Second Amended and Restated Deposit Agreement dated August 15, 2014, amended and restated as of August 8, 2000 among Pearson, The Bank of New York Mellon as depositary (the “Depositary”) and owners and holders of ADSs (the “Deposit Agreement”). ADSs are represented by American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) delivered by the Depositary under the terms of the Deposit Agreement.

Certain information is included herein by incorporation by reference to the Pearson Annual Report and Accounts 2022, which has been included as Exhibit 15.3 to this Annual Report.

The basis of preparation that the financial statements referenced in this Form 20-F are prepared under, is set out in the following section of the Pearson Annual Report and Accounts 2022, which are included within Exhibit 15.3:

 

   

“Basis of Preparation” within Note “1.a. Accounting policies” on page 140.

Unless otherwise indicated, any reference in this Form 20-F to consolidated financial statements is to pages 134 to 200 of the Pearson Annual Report and Accounts 2022, which are included within Exhibit 15.3.

The Group publishes its consolidated financial statements in sterling. The Group has included, however, references to other currencies. In this Form 20-F:

 

   

references to “sterling”, “pounds”, “pence” or “£” are to the lawful currency of the United Kingdom,

 

   

references to “euro” or “€” are to the lawful currency of the participating Member States in the Third Stage of the European Economic and Monetary Union of the Treaty Establishing the European Commission, and

 

   

references to “US dollars”, “dollars”, “cents” or “$” are to the lawful currency of the United States

 

   

references to “brl”, “R$” are to the lawful currency of Brazil.

For convenience and except where specified otherwise, the Group has translated some sterling figures into US dollars at the rate of £1.00 = $1.21, the noon buying rate in The City of New York for cable transfers and foreign currencies as certified by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for customs purposes on December 31, 2022. The Group does not make any representation that the amounts of sterling have been, could have been or could be converted into dollars at the rates indicated. On February 28, 2023 the noon buying rate for sterling was £1.00 = $1.21.

Pearson plc, (Pearson or the Group) is a worldwide learning company with its principal operations in the education, assessment and certifications markets. On 28 January 2022, the Group acquired 100% of the share capital in Credly Inc (Credly), having previously held a 19.9% interest in the company. On 28 April 2022, the Group acquired 100% of the share capital of ATI STUDIOS A.P.P.S S.R.L (Mondly). In 2022, the Group disposed of its interests in the Canadian educational publisher, ERPI in June, its investment in Pearson Italia S.p.A and Stark Verlag GmbH in August, its interest in Austin Education (Hong Kong) Limited in September, and its interest in South Africa in November. In September 2021, the Group acquired the remaining stake in Faethm Holdings Pty Limited to bring its ownership up to 100% of the share capital of the Company. In October 2021, the sale of the Group’s interests in K12 Sistemas in Brazil was completed. In April 2020, the Group completed the sale of the remaining 25% equity interest in the consumer publishing business Penguin Random House to Bertelsmann, the owner of the 75% interest. In November 2020, the Group announced the sale of its interests in Pearson Institute of Higher Education (PIHE) in South Africa, with the sale completing in February 2021. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — Overview of operating divisions”. The Pearson plc Consolidated Financial Statements are included on pages 134 to 200 of the Pearson Annual Report and Accounts 2022, which are included within Exhibit 15.3.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

You should not rely unduly on forward-looking statements in this Form 20-F. This Form 20-F, including the sections entitled “Item 3. Key Information — Risk Factors”, “Item 4. Information on the Company” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects”, contains forward-looking statements that relate to future events or the Group’s future financial performance. In some cases, you can identify forward- looking statements by terms such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “potential”, “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Examples of these forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the following:

 

   

operations and prospects,

 

   

growth strategy,

 

   

funding needs and financing resources,

 

   

expected financial position,

 

   

market risk,

 

   

currency risk,

 

   

US federal and state spending patterns,

 

   

debt levels, and

 

   

general market and economic conditions.

These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Group’s or its industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. In evaluating them, you should consider various factors, including the risks outlined under “Item 3. Key Information — Risk Factors”, which may cause actual events or industry results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement. Although the Group believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.

The forward-looking statements, specifically the margin target, financial expectations, 2023 outlook and 2025 ambition information, included on pages 13 and 21 of the Pearson Annual Report and Accounts 2022 which is included within Exhibit 15.3 in this document has been prepared by, and is the responsibility of, the Company’s management. Ernst & Young LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have not audited, reviewed, examined, compiled nor applied agreed-upon procedures with respect to the forward-looking statements and, accordingly, Ernst & Young LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP do not express an opinion or any other form of assurance with respect thereto. The PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP report included in this document relates to the Company’s previously issued financial statements. It does not extend to the forward-looking statements and should not be read to do so.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

 

A.

[Reserved]

 

B.

Capitalisation and indebtedness: Not applicable

 

C.

Reasons for the offer and use of proceeds: Not applicable

 

D.

Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the risk factors described below, as well as the other information included in the rest of this document. The Group’s business, financial condition or results from operations could be materially adversely affected by any or all of these risks, or by other risks that it presently cannot identify.

Content & Channel Risk

If the Group fails to successfully invest in and deliver the right products and services and to respond to competitive threats, its sales and profits could be adversely impacted.

A common trend facing all the Group’s businesses is the digitization of content and proliferation of distribution channels, either over the internet, or via other electronic means, replacing traditional print formats. The digital migration has led to changes in consumers’ perception of value and the publisher’s position between consumers, retailers, and authors, and has required the Group to make changes in product and content distribution.

A proliferation of available supply routes for content in addition to buying or subscribing to Pearson content, mean that the Group is not guaranteed to be rewarded for its investment in developing and distributing this content. Alternatives such as second hand and rental copies, open educational resources, online discounters, file sharing and use of pirated copies all offer either lower or no financial returns to the Group.

Where the purchaser is a school or institution, they will typically use educational funding to purchase our materials or assessments. However, there are multiple competing demands for educational funds and there is no guarantee that new courseware or testing or training programs will be funded, or that the Group will win or retain this business.

If the Group does not adapt rapidly to these changes, it may lose business to ‘faster’ and more ‘agile’ competitors, who increasingly are non-traditional competitors, making their identification all the more difficult. The Group may be required to invest significant resources to further adapt to the changing competitive environment, which requires continued development of both content and the method of delivery to be able to provide differentiated products and services, and can result in competitive disadvantage and missed opportunity for revenue and growth.

Failure to use the Group’s data effectively to enhance the quality and scope of current products and services in order to improve learning outcomes could adversely affect the Group’s business.

The Group seeks to maximize data to enhance the quality and scope of current products and services in order to improve learning outcomes while managing associated risks. The Group’s ability to continue to do so

 

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may be subject to factors beyond the Group’s control. In addition, the lack of availability of timely, complete and accurate data limits informed decision-making and increases the risk of non-compliance with legal, regulatory and reporting requirements. Business change and transformation success is dependent on migration of a significant number of datasets and our inability to effectively accomplish this could adver