The news may surprise the study travel industry, as it is the second announcement of a commercial alignment between a major education company and a student recruitment and placement business in as many months.
Kaplan International English announced its acquisition of European agency chain ESL in July.
STB, one of the giants in the Brazilian industry with 60 offices across the country, has operated since 1971. It places over 15,000 Brazilian students annually into programs spanning the work & travel, language travel, higher education and mainstream travel sectors.
“The market is changing, the environment is changing so quickly and being alone in the universe these days. I don’t think is a good option,” JC Hauer Santos, president and CEO of STB, told The PIE News.
“I think we needed to join a group, especially a group with the calibre that these guys have.”
The two companies will continue to be run separately, but will collaborate on international growth plans for STB.
LCI Education specialises in career-oriented education and runs 23 campuses around the world under the LaSalle College, Veritas Universidad and LCI brands as well as ELT brand Languages Across Borders and two business schools in Morocco.
“STB’s dominant position in the highly attractive Brazilian market makes it a great partner to help accelerate our international growth strategy,” commented Claude Marchand, CEO of LCI Education.
“STB’s dominant position in the highly attractive Brazilian market makes it a great partner”
“We are excited to collaborate with STB to offer high-quality international education opportunities to a greater student audience looking to secure a successful career path.”
Marchand, speaking with The PIE News, echoed Hauer Santos’ comments on global expansion opportunities.
“We believe that the STB experience could be deployed globally – way beyond Brazil,” he said.
As Hauer Santos acknowledged, STB already has an office in Australia. But he said much of the future development would be tech-based.
“Whereas in the past you have a lot of decisions on this sort of provision made by parents, now a lot of decision-making comes from the kids to parents, and also people around 45-50 with kids who want to travel, they are much more technology-friendly than the generation before.
“So the expansion will have to do a lot with technology.”
Hauer Santos shared that his agency network started working with LCI Education three years ago, initially via their Languages Across Borders brand in Melbourne, Montreal and Vancouver before also promoting the LaSalle College schools.
“And that’s it, we met and started talking,” he shared. “I’m very happy. I think it’s brings another perspective to [LCI] and they bring another perspective for us. I think it’s very good.”
Hauer Santos’ VP, Christina Bicalho, will also remain in position.
Marchand told The PIE, “We believe in STB’s people – JC & Chris, staff and franchisees and what they accomplished for young Brazilians – and the industry – since 1971.”
“As a global network, we believe in the fundamentals of Brazil and looked for few years on how to enter that market. STB is only a first step.”