Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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For Houghton Mifflin's College Division (sold in 2008) see Cengage Learning.

Company Website


Boston, MA, USA

Financial Information

Parent Company

  • Owned by a consortium of private equity groups (Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital, and Blackstone Group)
  • Annual Operative Revenues (as of 12/2006): $1,282 million (HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT PUBLISHING COMPANY) (Source: ORBIS)

K-12 Business

Mergers and Acquisitions

McDougal Littell

"Houghton Mifflin acquired the company in 1994." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/mcdougal_littell.html)

D.C. Heath

"The 1995 acquisition of D.C. Heath and Company gained Houghton Mifflin entry into the supplemental school market, and in 1996, Great Source Education Group was established to combine the supplemental product lines of D.C. Heath, Houghton Mifflin's School Division, and McDougal Littell." (http://www.hmco.com/company/about_hm/company_history.html)


In 1993, "the Company acquired Edusoft and its web-based assessment platform, which, in 2006, were integrated with Riverside Publishing." (http://www.hmco.com/company/about_hm/company_history.html)

Harcourt Education

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. was formed in December 2007 when Houghton Mifflin, and its parent Education Media and Publishing Group, acquired the bulk of the Harcourt U.S. education business and its library reference and trade businesses from Reed Elsevier in a $4 billion transaction." (Mickey, Meaney and Kilkenny 2009, 144)

Product Divisions

School Division

"Houghton Mifflin School Division publishes resources for teachers, students, and parents for pre-K-8. The School Division's renowned author teams rely on extensive market and independent research to inform the pedagogical structure of each program. Ancillary products such as workbooks, teacher guides, audio-visual guides, and computer software provide additional support for students and teachers at each grade level. (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/school_division.html)


"Houghton Mifflin School Division publishes science, reading, language arts, mathematics, and social studies textbooks, as well as an integrated pre-K curriculum. In addition, the division produces programs for reading and math intervention, professional development tools, and learning technologies." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/school_division.html)

Great Source

"Great Source publishes standards-based, proven solutions for reading, language arts, math, and science for pre-K-12. Great Source also produces effective materials for summer school, afterschool, and intervention programs, quality test preparation, and resources to meet the needs of a wide variety of learning styles, including those of English learners. Outstanding research-based professional development offerings solidify Great Source’s commitment to helping educators make a difference in classrooms every day." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/great_source.html)

McDougal Littell

McDougal Littell "offers a wide range of standards-driven programs that reflect the latest in educational research and address the needs of all learners, providing teachers and students with solutions for success in the classroom. McDougal Littell publishes an extensive offering of print and technology materials for language arts, mathematics, social studies, world languages, and science for grades 6-12. Houghton Mifflin acquired the company in 1994." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/mcdougal_littell.html)

Learning Technology

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology specializes in developing highly engaging, interactive pre-K-12 solutions that inspire excellence and innovation in education, and raise student achievement.

"Bringing together some of the most well-known brands in the industry, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology provides research-proven solutions that serve thousands of schools and districts around the world. The division’s approach integrates core and supplemental instruction with intervention, assessment, and reporting, as well as professional development and school-to-home connections to help enhance teaching and learning, and accelerate proficiency.

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology provides a rich portfolio of high-value educational software solutions in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. Its full portfolio of pre-K-12 solutions includes Destination Math, Destination Reading, Edmark House Series, Learning Village, SkillsTutor, and Earobics, as well as popular supplemental titles such as Mavis Beacon, Print Shop, Carmen Sandiego, Oregon Trail, Reader Rabbit, and KidPix." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/learning_tech.html)

Riverside Publishing

"Riverside Publishing offers a wide range of highly regarded clinical, state, formative, educational, and group assessment products. As a charter member of the Association of Test Publishers, Riverside serves both the K-12 educational market and the clinical assessment market with print, CD-ROM, and online assessment tools." (http://www.hmco.com/divisions/riverside_publishing.html)

Business Strategy

PreK-12 Publishing Strategy

"In recent years, both Harcourt and Houghton Mifflin had made technology an integral component of their education offerings, incorporating gaming strategies and video to present material in new ways, electronic lesson planners and computer-based assessment generators, online libraries, DVDs, electronic versions of textbooks and book-linked Web sites to enhance textbook programs and provide more instructional options to teachers.

"Additionally, Riverdeep’s technology not only brings another dimension to the integration of technology across the offerings but serves as the base of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Learning Technology group with such products as the Destination Success learning management system." (Mickey, Meaney and Kilkenny 2008, 145)

Textbook Adoption Strategy

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has multiple programs—sometimes going head-to-head—on approved lists in state textbook adoptions, including the three largest: California K-8 math, Texas K-5 math and Florida K-12 reading.

"Among the 41 programs approved by California for the state’s schools to begin purchasing in 2008 are core math programs customized to state standards from Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin and Saxon (a former Harcourt imprint). Additionally, there are programs in algebra readiness for grade 8, core grades 6-8 programs and intervention grades 4-7, including the electronic Destination Math California Intervention from the former Riverdeep.

"Texas versions of the core math programs for grades K-5 from Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt and Saxon are participants in the Texas adoption, as well.

"A similar pattern is repeated in Florida, where Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt programs compete in the grades K-6 segment. Houghton Mifflin’s supplemental publisher Great Source (now HMH Supplemental Publishers) has the only state-approved offering in the Developmental Reading (grades 6-8) segment.

"Through McDougal Littell (now Holt McDougal), the company is participating in the comprehensive Intervention segment, and the company has several programs from both Harcourt—Rigby, Saxon and Steck-Vaughn—and Houghton Mifflin—Learning Technology and Great Source—in the Supplemental Intervention segment.

"While the core programs from each company face competitive issues in the market, the Saxon program offers an additional resource for market share growth as an alternative basal. The program was completely revised for the elementary grades and has customized editions for Texas and California.

"Saxon contributed slightly more than $1 million in sales in the Texas grades 6-12 math adoption in 2007, bolstering Harcourt’s leading position in that adoption. Houghton Mifflin, which led the 9-12 segment, placed third overall with Simba estimated sales of $33.5 million for a 21.2% share.

"Among 20 of the largest districts in California that Simba tracked in the 2007 science adoption, Harcourt’s Holt, Rinehart & Winston led the grades 6-8 segment with an estimated 43.4% of sales. Overall in grades K-8 among the 20 largest districts, Simba estimated that Houghton Mifflin got a 2% share, and Harcourt captured an 18% share.

"The potential of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt can be seen in the Tennessee reading adoption in 2007. Worth about $24 million, Houghton Mifflin came in second behind Harcourt; combined, the two dominated that adoption." (Mickey, Meaney and Kilkenny 2008, 146-147)

Special Offerings: Singapore Math

"The company is tapping the well of interest nationwide in Singapore math. Through HMH Supplemental Publishing, the company partnered with U.K.-based international publisher Marshall Cavendish to adapt and distribute an alternative core math program based on Singapore’s My Pals Are Here! Math.

"HMH Supplemental has the exclusive license to customize the program for the U.S. school market and, after adapting it and renaming it Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach, plans a 2008 release." (Mickey, Meaney and Kilkenny 2008, 147)


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