Publishing group Pearson has acquired Wall Street English (WSE), one of China’s leading English language-training (ELT) companies, for US$145 million, the Financial Times reported. Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times, bought the teaching assets from private equity group Carlyle’s Wall Street Institute venture. A total of 39 language-training centers are run under the WSE banner in Beijing, Shanghai and five other metropolitan areas, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Pearson’s Longman Schools brand currently operates 27 training centers in Shanghai and Beijing. WSE has achieved 40% compound annual growth since 2006 and is expecting sales of about US$70 million this year. The acquisition price is equivalent to 2.1 times revenues. Simon Baker, a media analyst at Credit Suisse, said this was quite a high multiple but it may be justified by the potentially high-margin business. Carlyle first invested in the company in 2004.
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