Nasdaq-listed Chinese schools group Bright Scholar buys CATS Colleges for $192m

Bright Scholar Education Holdings (Bright Scholar), the Nasdaq-listed operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China, announced that it has agreed to acquire international school network CATS Colleges for £150 million (about $192 million).

The acquisition of CATS expands Bright Scholars’ presence outside of China as it continues to build a global network of premium schools, according to Bright Scholar executive vice chairman Jerry He. The Chinese schools group aims to close the deal within this month.

CATS Colleges operates a network of schools in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and China, with a diverse mix of over 2,000 students from around 80 countries.

The international school network comprises seven campuses in Cambridge, London, Canterbury, Shanghai and Boston, an arts school in Cambridge, as well as 10 international languages schools in the UK, the US, and Canada.

“The addition of CATS’ international network of schools will help Bright Scholar share best practices and innovations to raise the standards of teaching and improve the learning experience of our students,” He said in a statement.

As of February 28, 2019, Bright Scholar operated 69 schools covering the breadth of K-12 academic needs of its students across nine provinces in China and one overseas school.

In the first six months of the 2019 school year ended February, the Chinese schools group had an average of 42,035 students enrolled at its schools.

Bright Scholar has been expanding its overseas portfolio through acquisitions. Last month, the company announced that it was acquiring 100 per cent equity interests in St Michael’s School and Bosworth Independent College in the UK for £38 million ($47.5 million).

St. Michael’s School, an independent school in the UK, is located in Llanelli, Wales and offers day and boarding education from age 3 to 18.

In April, Bright Scholar also announced that it acquired 80 per cent equity interest in Wuhan Sannew Education Development Co Ltd, operator of Wuan Sannew American Middle School, the very first American-style private boarding school in Wuhan, China.

Established in 2015 by overseas returnees from Harvard University, Sannew School offers secondary education services for grade 7-12 and also introduces a full set of American education curricula.