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Brazil: Abril Educação buys Wise Up for $444 million

Signalling Brazil’s ELT business boom, one of the country’s biggest publishers Abril Educação has bought the English-language chain Wise Up for 877 million reais (US$444.9 million). Wise Up is present in more than 70 cities in Brazil and around the world.

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“We’re looking at all acquisition opportunities there are in Brazil"

The Brazilian language school industry will “consolidate as most companies are family businesses”

Only about 3 percent of Brazilians can speak English, and better fluency is needed before the country hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. There is also a deficit of fluent English language teachers across the country’s many small language schools.

Abril Educação says it is stepping up acquisitions of English schools in response. In July 2012, it paid 29.9 million (US$15 million) reais for a 51 per cent stake in Red Balloon, a franchise network of 34 schools.

In Autumn 2011, it announced a partnership with US-based Livemocha, which facilitates interaction between native language speakers and learners. 20% of its 11 million users are based in Brazil.

Abril Educação’s CEO, Manoel Amorim, told Bloomberg in September: “We’re looking at all acquisition opportunities there are in Brazil.” He added that the language school industry would “consolidate as most companies are family businesses, and many want to associate with stronger players or sell.”

Abril Educação, the education arm of Grupo Abril, has major clout in Brazilian education. It supplied 30 million students and over 125,000 schools with its services in 2010, as well as running elementary and high schools.

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