Cengage is an educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education, K-12, professional, and library markets. It operates in more than 20 countries around the world.[2][3][4]

Founded2007 (2007)
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationBoston, Massachusetts, United States
Key people
  • Michael Hansen (CEO)
  • Fernando Bleichmar – Chief Product Officer
  • Judah Karkowsky — Chief Development Officer
  • Alexander Broich – President, International
  • Laura Stevens – General Counsel
  • George Moore – Chief Technology Officer
  • Robert Munro — Chief Financial Officer
  • Rebecca McNamara – Chief Integration Officer
Publication typesEducational content, technology, and services
  • 4LTR Press
  • Aplia
  • Cengage Learning PTR
  • Chilton
  • ed2go
  • Gale
  • Heinle
  • Milady
  • MindTap
  • National Geographic Learning
Revenue US$1.5 billion (2017)
Owner(s)Searchlight Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Oaktree Capital Management, Oak Hill Advisors, BlackRock Financial Management, Franklin Mutual Advisers, and others[1]
No. of employees5,000 (2017)
Official websitewww.cengage.com

Company information

The company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and has approximately 5,000 employees worldwide across nearly 38 countries.[3][5] It was headquartered at its Stamford, Connecticut office until April 2014.[6]

Gale is Cengage's library reference arm and specializes in e-research and educational publishing for libraries, schools and businesses. The company creates and maintains databases that are published online, in print, as e-books and in microform.[7]


Cengage offers print and digital textbooks, instructor supplements, online reference databases, distance learning courses, test preparation materials, corporate training courses, career assessment tools, materials for specific academic disciplines, and custom solutions.

On December 5, 2017, Cengage announced Cengage Unlimited, a subscription service that allows students to pay for access to the company's entire digital higher education catalog by the semester or year, rather than buying individual textbooks.[8] This service became available during summer 2018, and was reported to be "in line with expectations" with its initial sales goal.[9] The University of Missouri is the first university to offer this plan to all students, effective January 2019.[10]


International Thomson Publishing entered the publishing business by buying Wadsworth Publishing in 1979. In 1981, International Thomson purchased the publishing operations of Litton Industries, including Van Nostrand Reinhold and Delmar.[11] International Thomson acquired reference publisher Gale Research in 1985.[12] International Thomson acquired South-Western Publishing from SFN in 1986.[13] In 1992, Thomson acquired Course Technology.[14] In 1995, Thomson acquired educational reference publisher Peterson's.[15] In 1997, Van Nostrand Reinhold was sold to John Wiley & Son.[16]

Thomson Learning was created out of a restructuring of International Thomson Publishing.[17] Thomson acquired the higher education title of Harcourt from Reed Elsevier in 2000.[18] Thomson Learning acquired the test prep publisher Arco from IDG Books in 2000.[19] It was announced on October 25, 2006 that Thomson Learning would be offered for sale by the Thomson Corporation, with an estimated value of up to US$5 billion.[20][21] The company was bought by a private equity consortium consisting of Apax Partners and OMERS Capital Partners for US$7.75 billion, and the name was changed to Cengage Learning on 24 July 2007.[22] In 2007, Cengage Learning sold Peterson's to Nelnet.[23] In 2011, Cengage Learning acquired the National Geographic Society's school publishing unit, and combined this school business with the Global ELT business to create and launch the National Geographic Learning brand. The global brand combined the former Cengage Learning ELT and National Geographic School Publishing imprints and sub-brands under one unified identity.[24]

In September 2013 David Shaffer retired as chairman of the company.[25] He had previously been executive vice president of The Thomson Corporation from 2005 to 2006, and then President and CEO of both Thomson Publishing International and Thomson Learning.[26]

The company had acquired a large amount of debt through the course of its initial buyout and subsequent acquisitions, and had seen declining revenue through a shrinking market for paper textbooks. Cengage Learning filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on July 2, 2013.[22][27] Cengage Learning emerged from bankruptcy on April 1, 2014, eliminating approximately $4 billion of its funded debt and securing $1.75 billion in exit financing. Post-bankruptcy, the company decided to focus on developing digital study guides and other educational supplements, as well as hard-copy textbooks. The company moved its headquarters from Stamford, Connecticut to Boston.[28]

In January 2015 they announced expansion of their LearnLaunch Accelerator program, which provides seed funding and intensive coaching to promising startups, to the University of Chihuahua in Mexico.[29][30]

In November 2016, Cengage Learning rebranded as simply Cengage.

In May 2019, Cengage announced its potential merger with another major publisher, McGraw-Hill Education, thereby becoming the second largest publisher and will be using McGraw-Hill as the merged corporate name with Michael Hansen as CEO.[31][32]


In addition to organic growth, Cengage has expanded through acquisitions within the publishing industry. Notable acquisitions include:

Date of acquisition announced Asset acquired Industry
1 March 2004 Education to Go[33] Online continuing education courses
16 May 2008 PAL Publications[34] Professional reference series
2 June 2008 Houghton Mifflin College Division[34] Publishing for 2- and 4-year colleges
17 July 2008 Gatlin Education Services[35] Web-based training for education providers
16 December 2008 HighBeam Research[36] Paid search engine of newspapers and magazines
1 August 2011 National Geographic School Publishing[24] Publishing for K-12 schools
September 2015 Learning Objects, Inc Learning management systems and adaptive education tools
October 2015 Pathbrite, Inc ePortfolio services for learning, reflection, and career advancement
September 2016 WebAssign[37] Online instructional application for faculty and students.


The company's product lines include 4LTR Press, Aplia, Cengage Learning PTR, Chilton, Education To Go, Gale, Milady, MindTap, and National Geographic Learning.

Since 2015, South-Western products have been branded as Cengage Learning.[38]

Cengage Unlimited, a SaaS solution, launched on August 1, 2018. [39]


In 2016, based on its 2015 revenues, Publishers Weekly ranked the company 14 out of 57 publishers worldwide, a decline of three slots from the previous year. The list includes both trade and educational publishers.[40]

See also


  1. Callum Borchers (April 1, 2014). "Cengage emerges from bankruptcy with Boston as its electronic publishing base". BostonGlobe.com. Archived from the original on September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  2. (Jun 27, 2014) Global Publishing Leaders 2014: Cengage Archived 2015-06-12 at the Wayback Machine publishersweekly.com
  3. Company Info - Wall Street Journal. Cengage Learning Archived 2015-06-18 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Company Overview of Cengage Learning, Inc. Archived 2017-08-09 at the Wayback Machine BloombergBusiness
  5. "Global Publishing Leaders 2017: Cengage Learning Holdings II LP". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  6. "Ed publishing firm Cengage will move into new Pier 4 building - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  7. Gale : A Cengage Learning Company Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians)
  8. "Boston publisher launches a Netflix for textbooks - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com.
  9. McKenzie, Lindsay (November 8, 2018). "Promising Early Sales for Cengage Unlimited". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  10. "University of Missouri System Chooses Cengage Unlimited Subscriptions to Save Students Money on Course Materials". Business Insider. November 16, 2018. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  11. Mehegan, David (January 26, 2002). "LITTLE, BROWN SHRINKING AGAIN: [THIRD Edition]". Boston Globe; Boston, Mass. Boston, Mass., United States, Boston, Mass. pp. –1. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  12. "Sale to International Thomson of Publisher Is Set for $66 Million". Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. New York, N.Y., United States, New York, N.Y. May 8, 1985. p. 1. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  13. Landro, Laura (October 15, 1986). "SFN to Sell Unit to Time For $520 Million --- Sale of Another Subsidiary To a Canadian Concern Is Set for $270 Million". Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. New York, N.Y., United States, New York, N.Y. p. 1. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  14. Diamond, Howard (November 24, 1992). "Thomson Acquires Course Technology, Inc". Business Wire; New York. New York, United States, New York. p. 1. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  15. "Thomson acquires Peterson's Guides". Publishers Weekly. October 30, 1995. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  16. Chen, David W. (October 10, 1997). "Metro Business; John Wiley Acquires A Trade Book Unit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  17. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/print/20000731/19613-pw-thomson-learning-adapts-to-market.html
  18. Editors, Business (October 27, 2000). "The Thomson Corporation to Acquire Select Harcourt Business Units From Reed Elsevier". Business Wire; New York. New York, United States, New York. p. 1. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  19. Writers, Business Editors/Education (June 12, 2000). "Thomson Learning Acquires ARCO Imprint from IDGB; Peterson's to Provide Consumers a Singular Resource for a Wide Range of Test-Prep Materials and Information". Business Wire; New York. New York, United States, New York. p. 1. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  20. Thomas, Helen (25 October 2006) Thomson to put learning unit on the block. FT Alphaville. Financial Times.
  21. (October 25, 2006) Thomson to sell education units Archived 2015-06-05 at the Wayback Machine Boston.com
  22. "Cengage Learning Files for Bankruptcy". New York Times. July 2, 2013. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  23. "Nelnet Acquires Peterson's" (Press release). Nelnet. July 27, 2006. Retrieved September 5, 2007.
  24. Jinks, Beth (June 24, 2011) Apax's Cengage Buying National Geographic's School Publisher Archived 2016-07-31 at the Wayback Machine Bloomberg.com
  25. Edgecliffe-Johnson, Andrew (July 6, 2013) Debt-laden Cengage in hunt for new chief Archived 2012-07-14 at the Wayback Machine The Financial Times
  26. Executive Profile - David H. Shaffer bloomberg.com
  27. Howard, Jennifer (July 3, 2013) Publisher's Bankruptcy Filing Comes as Market for Print Textbooks Shrinks Archived 2015-05-12 at the Wayback Machine The Chronicle of Higher Education
  28. "Textbook publisher quits Stamford for Boston". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  29. Borchers, Callum (April 01, 2014) Cengage exits bankruptcy, focuses on e-books in Boston Archived 2014-09-15 at the Wayback Machine bostonglobe.com
  30. Shulman, Eden (12 Feb, 2015) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) BetaBoston - Boston Globe
  31. McKenzie, Lindsay (May 2, 2019). "Rival Publishers Join Forces". insidehighered.com. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  32. "McGraw-Hill, Cengage Agree to Merge". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  33. MacFadyen, Ken (June 9, 2008) Thomson Course Technology Acquires Education To Go To Expand Continuing Education Offerings Archived 2016-01-29 at the Wayback Machine
  34. MacFadyen, Ken (June 9, 2008) Cengage Buys Houghton Mifflin's College Unit Archived 2015-06-05 at the Wayback Machine themiddlemarket.com
  35. Cengage Learning Acquired Gatlin Education Services. Was this a good decision? owler.com
  36. Polanka, Sue (Dec 16, 2008) http://www.libraries.wright.edu/noshelfrequired/2008/12/16/highbeam-research-now-part-of-galecengage/ Archived June 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine No Shelf Required - Wright State University Libraries
  37. "Cengage Acquires WebAssign, Strengthening Market Position in Science, Technology and Math". Cengage. September 27, 2016. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  38. "There’s a new way to find South-Western titles" Archived 2017-04-08 at the Wayback Machine, Cengage Learning. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  39. (Aug 04, 2018) eLearning Inside News: Cengage
  40. "The World's 57 Largest Book Publishers, 2015" Archived 2015-11-15 at the Wayback Machine publishersweekly.com. Jun 26, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
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