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Pearson sells ELT division Wall Street English

Global education company Pearson has announced today that it has sold its ELT chain, Wall Street English, to a consortium consisting of funds affiliated with Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital.

Wall Street English sold by PearsonWall Street English's growth has been underpinned by a strong franchise network.

"We have concluded that the full disposal of WSE is the approach best aligned with our objective to simplify Pearson"

Wall Street English teaches English in-country and has 79 “corporate owned” centres (largely in China) and 321 franchised centres around the world.

The transaction was reported to “generate gross cash to Pearson of around $300m after adjustments for assumed deferred revenue and historical tax liabilities”; the new owners are based in Hong Kong.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said, “The sale of Wall Street English is part of our continued effort to focus on a smaller number of bigger opportunities in global education and to become simpler and more efficient.”

The company that calls itself “the world’s learning company” announced earlier this year that selling Wall Street English would be part of its new direction after large losses posted of US$2.6 billion.

At that time, Pearson said it would seek a strategic partner for Wall Street English and seek to sell its testing company in China, Global Education & Technology Group as it streamlined its activities.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018 subject to regulatory approval being obtained, said the company.

“After extensive review of options for WSE, we have concluded that the full disposal of WSE is the approach best aligned with our objective to simplify Pearson and focus on fewer bigger opportunities,” said the press statement.

In 2016, Wall Street English served 180,000 learners in 27 territories. It contributed £175m in revenue, an adjusted operating profit of £7m and a statutory operating profit of £4m. The business had approximately 3,600 full-time employees at the end of June 2017.

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