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Perima buys major stake in EF schools

Global investment firm Permira and EF Education First have announced that a company backed by the Permira Funds has agreed to invest in a majority stake in the EF Kids & Teens chain of English-language schools in China and Indonesia.

EF Kids & Teens has 288 schools across 62 cities in China and 79 schools in Indonesia. Photo: Unsplash

EF will retain significant ownership in the Kids & Teens business

EF will retain significant ownership in the Kids & Teens business and said it remains deeply invested in its continued success.

“We look forward to growing EF Kids & Teens’ investments in academics and technology”

According to FT sources, Permira’s investment values the whole business unit, EF Kids & Teens, at about $1.5 billion.

With over 20 years of operations, EF Kids & Teens is a market leader in English language education with 288 schools across 62 cities in China and 79 schools in Indonesia and one of the largest networks of international teachers.

This strategic partnership will combine EF’s market leadership with Permira’s resources to accelerate EF Kids & Teens’ growth.

The company plans to expand the school network, invest heavily in academic programs and deliver more innovations such as the Double Wing 1:1 and group online hybrid learning system, which combines the best of in-classroom and online learning.

Philip Hult, chairman of EF Education First, said EF Kids & Teens is a gem in the EF portfolio.

“With Permira, we have a dedicated partner investing with us to meet the enormous market opportunity,” he said.

“We look forward to growing EF Kids & Teens’ investments in academics and technology and expanding our leading educational programs for the Chinese market.”

He added that EF’s long-term commitment to China remains unchanged and will continue to operate other businesses, adults education and study abroad programs, as usual.

Robin Bell-Jones, partner, Permira added that China has emerged as the world’s largest and most advanced market for educational services and Permira is a firm believer in the importance of high-quality education powered by technology.

“This exciting partnership builds on Permira’s successful track record of backing entrepreneurs in Asia and growth investments in education and edtech,” said Bell-Jones.

“We have long admired EF Kids & Teens’ relentless focus on product and service quality… and we concluded that there is simply no better way for a child to learn English and look forward to being a long-term partner to EF Kids & Teens.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions.

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