Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2011 (Revised December 2016)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

by Stuart C. Gilson and Sarah L. Abbott


One of the leading publishers of textbooks and other educational materials for the U.S. K-12 educational instruction market has suffered a dramatic decline in sales and profits in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial market crisis and economic recession, and is now overburdened with debt. To regain its competitiveness the company has to significantly reduce its debt, by billions of dollars. Company management is trying to decide which of several options is best for achieving this goal, including filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, restructuring its debt out-of-court, or filing a “pre-packaged” Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Keywords: Restructuring; Decision Choices and Conditions; Financial Crisis; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Publishing Industry; Massachusetts;


Gilson, Stuart C., and Sarah L. Abbott. "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt." Harvard Business School Case 211-027, January 2011. (Revised December 2016.)