Wiley Opens Resources and Adjusts Outlook

April 24, 2020 | Volume 51, Number 9

John Wiley & Sons (Hoboken, NJ) has put its resources to work for education and research as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic impact and made changes to its operations and fiscal expectations.

Wiley is making its research content and data on COVID-19 freely available for researchers. In education for instructors and students, Wiley is enabling free access to its digital courseware solutions, WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta and zyBooks; its CPA, CMA, and CFA test prep solutions; and The Year Without Pants, about leading a remote team and navigating a work-from-home culture.

Wiley also is offering expanded partner support to universities during the rapid transition to online, including additional technology support and assistance with course production. Wiley recently launched a free micro-course, Launching Online Learning, for K-12 educators to quickly ramp-up online learning.

Business Impact

Even with a fundamentally strong financial position, Wiley said the pandemic will have a significant adverse impact on fourth quarter results and is revising its fiscal 2020 outlook, among taking other fiscal measures.

The company said it is seeing: declines in print book sales due to retail bookstore closings; declines in businesses that rely on in-person engagement, primarily test prep and corporate training; delays in closing annual journal subscription agreements in certain parts of Europe and Asia due to challenges of remote selling and university disruption; and delays in customer payments due to widespread disruption and pervasive cash conservation behavior.

Wiley reduced its fiscal 2020 revenue outlook down $50 million to $1.8 billion to $1.83 billion and adjusted EBITDA down $25 million to $325 million to $350 million. The company withdrew its free cash flow outlook given limited visibility into the timing of collections from customers.

Wiley estimates that approximately one-quarter of the fourth quarter revenue and earnings impact from COVID-19 is timing related, primarily in its Research segment, and the company expects recovery in subsequent periods.

Wiley said its balance sheet was strong with a $1.5 billion credit agreement not maturing until May 2024. As of January 31, Wiley had $118 million of cash on hand and undrawn revolving credit totaling $700 million.

Wiley did suspend a board-approved $200 million share repurchase plan.

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