[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s largest private equity firm MBK Partners has entered the race to acquire language learning business Wall Street English from Pearson, the world’s largest education company, according to news reports on Sept. 26.
MBK submitted a preliminary bid last month and has reportedly been short listed along with multiple private equity funds and strategic investors.
Pearson announced in February that it is exploring a potential partnership for WSE and appointed New York-based boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. as advisor. The deal is expected to be valued at about 451.2 billion won (US$400 million)
After suffering its worst losses in the company’s 173 year history in recent years, Pearson is moving forward to restructure its business and ensure liquidity. Along with selling off its better-known assets such as Economist and major stake in Penguin Books, the company also sold Financial Times to a Japanese newspaper company, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, for about 1.5 trillion won.
MBK, on the other hand, has been actively investing in its acquisitions as it has bought 29 companies just in the Northeast Asia region in the past 13 years. This year alone, the private equity firm acquired Daesung Industrial Gas for about 2 trillion won and E-Land’s Modern House for about 710 billion won.
WSE was first acquired by Pearson in 2009.The world’s largest language school encompasses about 200,000 annual members in over 450 training centers in 29 countries around the world.
By Alex Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)