Pearson to sell Wall Street English to Baring PE Asia, CITIC for $300m

The company logo is displayed outside the Pearson offices in London, Britain August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Education group Pearson has agreed the sale of its Wall Street English (WSE) business to Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital for around $300 million, although its proceeds from the deal will be just a third of that.

Pearson, which has sold several assets to focus on its core education business and cut debt, said that of the $300 million, $50 million would cover tax and net transaction costs while $150 million would be retained in the disposed business.

Shares in the group slipped 1.7 percent in early Monday trading on disappointment a business that teaches English to adults in multiple countries including China had not brought in more.

Pearson, which has sold off assets including the Financial Times newspaper and the Economist magazine, had net debt of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) at the end of September.

The sale will, however, reduce the number of people working for Pearson, as WSE employs around 3,600 people. The group said in August it would cut 3,000 jobs, which at the time accounted for almost 10 percent of the group total.

Pearson, which has been hit by a slowdown in the United States and from the shift to digital from paper textbooks, has cut thousands of jobs and restructured following a string of profit warnings in recent years.

“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,” Chief Executive John Fallon said.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018. Shares in the group were down 1.5 percent at 0847 GMT, giving Pearson a market value of 5.6 billion pounds.

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Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.