Solid Intuition or Personal Bias?

Pearson PLC is selling Interactive Data Corporation to Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus.  Pearson is continuing to exit assets that don’t seem core to their business which is increasingly focused on educational products.

As a strategist, I applaud companies that:

  • Keep a tight strategic focus
  • Exit assets that are not part of a company’s core competency.  Pearson selling Madame Tussauds wax museums, for example.  B2C business not akin to their main businesses
  • Decide that competitive dynamics are unattractive.  We know that Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg are doubling down in the financial sector and Dow Jones/News Corp has plans as well

However, there is something about selling their 61% of Interactive Data that nags at me.

  • These information services businesses are solid businesses where you embed yourself deeply in customer workflows.  And goodness knows, there’s lots of workflow serving the financial services business
  • You reuse information and capabilities in new and different ways, resulting in high profitability
  • Doubling down in education is the way to go with state budgets likely to be crimped for years to come?

So, is it my personal bias showing that this nags at me?  Is this exactly what senior leadership needs to be very alert to…..how personal bias allows decisions to be made that aren’t strategically sound?  Or can intuition play a role?

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