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Apple, Pearson Appear To Lose L.A. School Board Contract

John Seward

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Pearson (NYSE: PSO) appeared to lose a $500 million contract Tuesday over a bidding controversy involving the Los Angeles public school system's superintendent.

Although education represents a growing and significant market for Apple, its $170.91 billion in revenue last year allows it to absorb the loss of business in Los Angeles in stride. Pearson's revenue last year totaled $8.39 billion.

Under the year-old agreement Apple was to supply iPads to the nation's second-largest school district, while Pearson's education unit was to supply curriculum tailored to the devices.

A school district technology committee's examination of the bidding process reported by the Los Angeles Times last week found close ties between Superintendent John Deasy and his former deputy Jaime Aquino and executives at Apple and Pearson.

Deasy's ties "created an appearance of conflict" even if no rules were broken, the report said. Aquino had formerly been an executive at a Pearson unit.

Deasy suspended the contract Monday in a letter to the district's board of education, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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