Ireland wins €350m HMH deal after tough worldwide battle
Ireland fought off stiff competition from locations in the US, Singapore and the Gulf states to seal the €350m investment from international publishing giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), formerly Riverdeep, which was announced yesterday.
The deal was signed following a year of negotiations with the company and Irish Government representatives.
The Dublin research and development (R&D) centre will create 450 jobs.
The deal involves the payment of the highest subsidies ever by government agency Enterprise Ireland.
The payment was over and above the normal guideline limit of €650,000 in a move that will be a welcome one for the Government against the backdrop of thousands of job losses over the past couple of years and its bid to champion Ireland as a hub for R&D.
Riverdeep, which was founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Barry O'Callaghan, purchased veteran publisher Houghton Mifflin for $3.4bn back in 2006 in one of the biggest deals ever done by an Irish company.
In 2007, the company acquired Reed Elsevier's US education arm, Harcourt Education Publishing. Although it is based in Boston, it is an Irish firm.
"This is the single largest investment in research and development in the history of Enterprise Ireland, and our largest subsidy for it," said Frank Ryan, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland.
"A total of €250m in e-learning software is already exported out of Ireland every year and there are 30 companies already active in e-learning space," he said.
The company said yesterday that Ireland was chosen because it provided "the best hub located uniquely between east and west."
HMH vice-president Fiona O'Carroll said the majority of the jobs will be technical in nature and will require third or fourth-level qualifications with candidates also required to have project management and operational skills.
"That it [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt] has decided to locate its global R&D headquarters for its e-learning capabilities here is a strong endorsement of Ireland's reputation for excellence and innovation," said Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan.
"HMH is recognised globally as the leader in the marketplace with an unrivalled reputation for technical innovation and excellence in education publishing."
The company is the world's biggest educational publisher and employs more than 6,000 staff.
Last year it generated approximately $2.5bn in annual revenues and close to $1bn in profits.
It has more than 100,000 customers worldwide and has a 50pc share of the US under-12 market.