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Orient loses Longman

Mumbai, Jan. 14: Orient Longman — the Hyderabad-based publisher of educational books — is losing its suffix.

Pearson Education group of the UK has reclaimed the rights to the Longman brand in India in an out-of-court settlement with Orient Longman.

In 2006, Pearson Education, the owner of the Longman name worldwide, had filed a suit against Orient Longman in a British court to assert its right to the Longman brand. Under the terms of the settlement, Orient Longman has agreed to stop using the Longman brand by November 2008. But it will be able to use the expression “formerly known as Orient Longman” for another year until November 2009.

“We reached an out-of-court settlement on November 19 last year and the proposal was accepted by us on November 22. There were three points in the settlement,” explained Krishnadev Rao, director (commercial), Orient Longman India.

“Pearson will pay us £2 million, which will cover our legal costs and the cost of re-branding. They will also return the 33 per cent shareholding that they have in Orient Longman free of cost. The three nominees they have on the Orient Longman board of directors will also resign,” Rao told The Telegraph over the phone from Hyderabad.

The company will come out with a new brand name in two months, he said.

In 1948, Longman Incorporated had established the Orient Longman brand in India. In 1968, Pearson took over the Longman name globally. However, in India, Longman continued to function as Orient Longman.

Between 1968 and 1984, the majority shareholding in Orient Longman went to Raja Rameshwar Rao who became the chairman of the company.

This was also the time when the company saw a turnaround with Indian writers gaining more importance. It also developed its popular Gulmohar series of English books for schools.

“By 1998, we were among the biggest publishers of Indian educational books in the country. There were quite a few takeover offers, but we did not want to sell the company,” Rao explained.

He now wants to establish a new brand identity, which will retain the Orient prefix.

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