Pearson seeks to shed Tussaud’s

Looking to reduce debt from S&S purchase

LONDON — Media group Pearson is said to be looking to sell Madame Tussaud’s, the London waxworks museum, to help reduce its $4 billion debt in the wake of acquiring Simon & Schuster’s education publishing divisions from Viacom.

Pearson may also sell its small stakes in satcaster BSkyB and satellite programmer Flextech. The group indirectly holds 4.24% of BSkyB and has a 3.1% stake in Flextech.

The sale of the popular tourist attraction would be Pearson’s biggest disposal since Marjorie Scardino became chief exec last year, and would follow the sales of the computer games company Mindscape and the magazine business Future Publishing.

Sources say earlier this year Pearson approached Hard Rock Cafe, the Rank Group and the leisure group Butlins as possible buyers for Madame Tussaud’s, but the near-$500 million pricetag received no takers.

The company has stated that it would reduce its debt through disposals of “passive investments and businesses that lack critical mass or are likely to be worth more to others than to Pearson.”