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Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Pearson's Acquisition of Harcourt Assessment
Date:1/24/2008

Divestitures Will Preserve Competition in Three Clinical Testing Markets

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice said today that it will require Pearson Plc to divest assets relating to three clinical testing markets in order to proceed with Pearson's proposed $950 million acquisition of Harcourt Assessment. The Department said that the transaction, as originally proposed, would have resulted in higher prices to purchasers of clinical tests, including many school districts, and would likely have impaired the launch of a competitive new test for adult abnormal personality disorders. The products to be divested are clinical tests that are used by psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and clinicians to diagnose persons who have or are at risk of developing certain disorders or disabilities.

The Department's Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to block the proposed acquisition. At the same time, the Division filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit and the Department's competitive concerns.

The Department concluded that the transaction would have eliminated competition between Pearson and Harcourt and likely would have led to higher prices and reduced innovation for adaptive behavior and speech and language clinical tests. The merging parties are two of only a few firms that supply such tests. The Department also concluded that the proposed merger would have prevented Harcourt's planned entry as an independent competitor in the market for adult abnormal personality clinical tests, which likely would have resulted in a decline in prices and greater innovation for such tests.

"Without the divestitures obtained by the Department, purchasers of clinical tests for adaptive behavior, speech and language, and adult abnormal personality likely would have faced higher prices and reduced inn
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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