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Pearson acquires ELT company in Brazil for £500m

Education giant Pearson announced today that it has made a major acquisition in Brazil of an ELT business that spans several brands and serves over 800,000 students. The acquisition of Grupo Multi for UK£500m is subject to regulatory review but Pearson is confident the deal will enable it to continue its focus on growth in “fast-growing economies” as well as digital and services businesses and tangible educational outcomes.

Grupo Multi runs a number of brands in the domestic market

The company is a success story for Carlos Wizard Martins, himself an international student

Grupo Multi is a 25-year-old company that includes brands such as Yazigi (which has an agency business too) as well as Wizard, Skill Idiomas and many others. It was owned by the Martins family (78%) and an investment firm, Kinea.

With booming demand for English language training (ELT) within Brazil, which is only expected to accelerate in the run up to the FIFA World Cup, Pearson’s CEO John Fallon, said the intention was to further grow the Grupo Multi business.

“Brazilians’ appetite for learning English as a global language of business and trade shows every sign of continuing to grow rapidly as Brazil becomes a global player in commerce, travel and a host of other industries,” he said.

“We intend to sustain and grow the business, helping many more young Brazilians to acquire the English language skills that will help them succeed in their careers.”

The company is a success story for Carlos Wizard Martins, himself an international student who set up his first language school in 1987 on his return from completing his degree at Brigham Young University in the USA.

Pearson already has over 600,000 students learning English at more than 250 Pearson operated and more than 350 Pearson franchised centres around the world. In addition, it has approximately 500,000 students in K12 sistemas schools in Brazil.

Maura Leão, CEO of Yázigi Travel and Youniverse, told The PIE News, “This acquisition by Pearson has been extremely well received by Yázigi, one of the brands that belong to Grupo Multi, for its innovative way into looking at language teaching worldwide. And also for myself, as the CEO for Yázigi  as the provider of international programs for this brand I see this also as a positive path to the future.”

She explained, “Foreseeing this  future we have also created a new brand, Youniverse Intercambios, to be the provider for Multi’s other brands, such as Wizard, Skill, Microlins and People, in a personalised way using the know-how acquired in many years working with various language schools.”

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