May 24, 2021

Cengage Announces Preliminary 2021 Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results; Digital-First Strategy Drives Growth in US Higher Education and Workforce Skills

BOSTON – May 24, 2021 – Today, Cengage, a global education technology company serving more than 12 million digital users annually [1], issued preliminary fiscal fourth quarter and full year results for the period ending March 31, 2021. The company’s results highlight strong financial momentum maintained through year-end, driven by successful transition to Cengage’s digital-first offerings, ongoing operating model simplification aligned to its digital transformation and effective Covid mitigation.

Key Highlights:

  • Improved revenue momentum in Q4, led by US Higher Ed. Cengage Adjusted Cash Revenue in Q4 FY21 grew +1%, with US Higher Ed up +11% in the quarter
  • Resilient FY21 Adjusted Cash Revenue performance. Down -6%; growth in US Higher Ed and rapid growth in Workforce Skills moderated temporary Covid declines in other businesses
    • US Higher Ed net sales grew by 4%, driven by 11% digital sales growth and continuing success of Cengage Unlimited which ended the 2021 fiscal year with 4.4 Million subscriptions sold since launch and total student savings of $330M
    • Ed2Go leveraged a leading position in the large and growing workforce skills market, growing Adjusted Cash Revenue by 46%
  • FY21 Adjusted Cash EBITDA less Prepub broadly flat to prior year. Cost benefits from ongoing digital transformation and mitigation actions offset covid revenue impact
  • Strong Cash Position. Cengage ended the fiscal year with $458M cash on hand, an increase of $92M over the prior year. Pro forma net leverage reduced to 5.6x driven by strong cash flow performance.

“The close of the 2021 fiscal year marked an important milestone for Cengage as our results show our digital strategy is driving great momentum,” said Michael Hansen, CEO.  “Over 73 percent of total net sales are now from digital; our US Higher Education business returned to growth in the year with 83 percent of net sales from digital.

“Fiscal year 2021 presented challenges and opportunities which we responded to with a great sense of purpose and conviction. When Covid began to shut schools, businesses and libraries, our investments in digital and leading customer support capabilities enabled us to meet customers’ needs quickly and effectively, which is driving sustained revenue growth into the future,” said Hansen.

“Looking ahead, we are focused on Education for Employment, aiding the more than 15 million un- and under-employed individuals who seek meaningful work to improve their lives and achieve their dreams. We will further strengthen our US Higher Ed business as core to our portfolio and build upon the rapid acceleration of our workforce skills business,” said Hansen.

For additional preliminary results, visit Comprehensive fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year-end presentation and audited financial statements will be issued in June 2021; exact date and timing will be announced on in the coming weeks.

About Cengage

Cengage, a global education technology company serving millions of learners, provides quality digital products and services, equipping students with the skills and competencies needed to advance their careers and improve their lives. We serve the K-12, higher education, professional, library, English language teaching and workforce training markets worldwide. Our industry-leading products and services make education more accessible and affordable, including Cengage Unlimited, the first-of-its-kind all-access digital subscription service. Visit us at or find us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

Cautionary Note Regarding Preliminary Results and Forward-Looking Statements

Our estimated unaudited financial results as of and for the three months and fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 presented in this press release are preliminary and are subject to the close of the quarter and fiscal year, completion of our quarter-end and year-end closing procedures and further financial review. The preliminary financial and business information presented in this press release has been prepared by and is the responsibility of our management and is based upon information available to us as of the date hereof. These estimates are not a comprehensive statement of our financial results for these periods and should not be viewed as a substitute for interim or audited financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Our actual results may differ from these estimates as a result of the completion of our quarter-end and year-end closing procedures, review adjustments and other developments that may arise between now and the time our financial results for the periods are finalized.  As a result, investors should exercise caution in relying on this information and should not draw any inferences from this information regarding financial or operating data not provided.

This press release and related discussion contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as: “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seek,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “project,” “foresee,” “likely,” or “anticipate” or similar expressions  that concern our strategies, objectives, plans or goals. All statements that are not strictly historic in nature are forward looking. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Our actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Many factors could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. You should consider such factors, many of which are outlined in the “Risk Factors” section of our FY20 Annual Report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 and in our quarterly reports for the quarters ended June 30, 2020, September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020 and the “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” section of the same report. Such reports can be accessed at We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

This release contains Non-GAAP financial measures. See the appendix in the attached presentation for a definition of these Non-GAAP financial measures and rationale for their use.

[1] Excludes 30 M users in Research segment.