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Flywire swoops in to acquire Studylink from Navitas in US$39m deal

Navitas has sold international student application software Studylink to finance giant Flywire in a landmark deal worth US$39 million .

The deal is worth $60m in Australian dollars. Photo: Flywire

The move is said to be a play by Flywire to “further accelerate” its market share in the Australian sector, as well as build on existing education payments business by “enhancing the value it provides to its global client, agent and payer base”. 

“As we continue to embed deeper into the workflows of our clients and power their vertical ecosystems, we seek opportunities that will help us enhance our value proposition and accelerate growth,” said Mike Massaro, CEO of Flywire

“This acquisition enhances the StudyLink and Flywire offering to our shared stakeholders in the higher ed ecosystem, and gives us the opportunity to invest even more in our joint solutions to help institutions, agents and payers get even more from our offerings. 

“With such an innovative platform, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to leverage our global capabilities and teams to help accelerate Studylink’s growth internationally beyond Australia,” Massaro said. Through the deal, Flywire hopes to gain the ability to deliver more services across the student journey. 

Studylink’s CEO Jason Howard said joining Flywire would mean the “combined solution” of its admissions services and Flywire’s payments system will be able to support students “from enrolment through to tuition and retention”.

“I am thrilled to join the Flywire team to help deliver even greater value to clients, agents and students and expand our solution globally,” Howard said.

Navitas has been a shareholder of Studylink since 2006 – and subsequently became majority shareholder. 

The announcement said that the sale of Studylink to Flywire would allow for Navitas to “expand their partnership” with the latter – but did not disclose exactly how this would play out. 

Scott Jones, Navitas CEO, said it was proud of the growth of Studylink over the years and that the business was “ahead of its time” when Navitas came on board. 

“[Studylink] created the market for a cloud-based application and enrolment solution for international students in Australia.

“This valuable deal reflects the considerable success StudyLink has had in penetrating the international education market and its potential for future growth and expansion,” Jones commented. 

As students going to Australia are expected to contribute US$19.2bn to the country’s economy in 2023, according to Flywire, the move is “increasingly important” for the company. 

The deal comes after a recent Navitas study saying that almost half of Australian institutions surveyed would invest more in digital recruitment and aggregators. Some 27% also said they’d spend more on agent commissions in the coming year.

All this occurred at a crucial time for Australian international education, after consistent calls to put more scrutiny on rogue agents in the sector.

“This deal reflects the considerable success StudyLink has had in penetrating the market”

 

Howard acknowledged Navitas as being a “critical” stakeholder that enabled the business to grow sustainability over the years. “We will always be grateful for their support and guidance,” he added.

Flywire’s acquisition of Studylink comes after acquisitions of British payments service WPM in 2021, and Australia-based finance platform Cohort Go in 2022.

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One Response to Flywire swoops in to acquire Studylink from Navitas in US$39m deal

  1. I am pleased to see this evidence of StudyLink’s maturity as an enrolment platform serving international students and Australian providers. I was Chair of StudyLink’s board for a few years as it refocused its business planning from a generic information source to a platform for institution and course choice and enrolment for prospective international students as its core clients. It thereby assisted client providers with high quality applicants. As Jason Howard has been kind enough to suggest I can add my contribution to this transition to my legacy. I’d be proud to do so whilst acknowledging that it is Jason and his team, along with Navitas as its main players.

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