Pearson Made $3 Billion From Digital Content Last Year

Pearson (NYSE: PSO) says it is putting cash made from selling its older businesses toward buying new ones in digital and emerging markets.

In its January trading update, the group says it made £2 billion ($3 billion) in digital revenues and around £600 million ($1 billion) from emerging markets in 2011.

To put that in context, Pearson’s 2010 digital revenue was £1.6 billion, 29 percent of the total, according to its annual report.

Since then, constituents Penguin and The Financial Times have seen strong online and e-book growth, but Pearson has also been wheeling out new online services for its core education businesses.

“Across Pearson, we are benefiting from recent portfolio changes, using the proceeds from disposals to invest in fast-growing businesses in developing economies and digital services,” the company says in today’s statement.

Pearson, run by CEO Marjorie Scardino, sold its 50 percent stake in FTSE International for £450 million in December – money it says will “provide additional headroom for further bolt-on acquisitions” in the target areas of digital and emerging markets.

Profitability guidance was not given in today’s update.