Barcelona, Spain – March 15, 2018 – Today the $300 million sale of Wall Street English (WSE) by Pearson to funds affiliated with Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) and CITIC Capital Holdings Limited (CITIC Capital) was closed, after all necessary regulatory approvals for the deal were granted earlier in the year.
WSE represents a unique investment opportunity for the two new owners. With over 400 centres and 180,000 students in 28 countries, WSE has a high quality and scalable platform to capture the growth of the adult English language market globally. With future investment targeting new centre opening and ongoing investment in product development, BPEA and CITIC Capital will support WSE’s expansion in existing growth markets including China and new markets globally through WSE-funded and franchise expansion.
On 27 November 2017, BPEA and CITIC Capital announced their intention to acquire WSE for $300 million. Now regulatory approval has been granted, the new owners have outlined their growth strategy for the WSE business.
The strategy includes a five-year plan that focuses capital investment into new centre openings and technology and product innovation.
David Kedwards, Global CEO of Wall Street English, said: “With the final approval of the acquisition and completion of the sale we have reached an important milestone in our new ownership structure. Both of our new shareholders have complementary backgrounds and expertise, an unrivalled track record in education investment and share our ambition for strong growth worldwide. We have a vision to leverage our platform to drive continued growth and improvement in existing and new learning experiences. This is a very exciting time for the company.”
2017 saw strong performance across the WSE business, with 22 new centres opened in eight countries and strong sales growth in China with operating profit growth of nearly 30%. Over the last three years WSE has strengthened its core proposition. The business is well positioned to expand globally and respond quickly to market dynamics, student needs and technological change faster than ever before.
David Kedwards added: “We estimate the English language market is valued at over $23bn in annual revenues and growing, with two billion people globally forecast to learn English by 2020. We aim to take advantage of market opportunities with investment to drive additional growth particularly in China, South America, Japan and India.”
Wall Street English is the world’s leading English language training network delivering English language learning to adults and is recognised as a leading blended learning platform that provides a premium lifestyle experience to its students. WSE’s success is underpinned by a strong brand, a track record of growth and innovation over its 46-year history. In 2016 the business served 180,000 learners through 70 corporate owned centres in China, nine corporate owned centres in Italy and 321 franchised centres across 28 territories.
About Baring Private Equity Asia
Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) is one of the largest and most established private alternative investment firms in Asia, with a total committed capital of over USD11 billion. The firm runs a pan-Asian investment program, sponsoring buyouts and providing growth capital to companies for expansion or acquisitions, as well as a private credit and a pan-Asian real estate private equity investment program. The firm has been investing in Asia since its formation in 1997 and has over 150 employees located across offices in Hong Kong, China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. BPEA currently has over 30 portfolio companies active across Asia with a total of 150,000 employees and sales of approximately USD28 billion in 2016.
For more information, please visit https://www.bpeasia.com
About CITIC Capital Holdings Limited
Founded in 2002, CITIC Capital Holdings Limited is an alternative investment management and advisory company. The firm manages over US$22 billion of capital across 100 funds and investment products through its multiple asset class platform covering private equity, real estate, structured investment & finance, and asset management. CITIC Capital has over 130 portfolio companies that span 11 sectors and employ over 820,000 people around the world.