Pearson buys Brazil's Grupo Multi

Pearson has bought Grupo Multi, an English-language training company in Brazil.

Grupo Multi provides training to private language schools in Brazil, serving 800,000 students across more than 2,600 schools.

Pearson will acquire Grupo Multi from the Martins family, the company's 78% majority shareholders, and the investment firm Kinea for approximately £440m in cash and the assumption of £65m of debt.

The news comes just days after Pearson announced it had agreed a sale for news company Mergermarket for £382m ($623m).

John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson, said: “Brazilians' appetite for learning English as a global language of business and trade shows every sign of continuing to grow rapidly as Brazil becomes a global player in commerce, travel and a host of other industries. Over the past 25 years, Grupo Multi has become the most respected English-learning company in Brazil by offering high quality affordable English language learning that has made a real impact on the lives of its students.

“We intend to sustain and grow the business, helping many more young Brazilians to acquire the English language skills that will help them succeed in their careers.”

Brazil’s English-language training market is estimated to be worth £2bn, and has a total of 2.8m students enrolled across children, teenage and adult age groups. It is expected to grow rapidly, Pearson said, supported by an expanding middle class population and greater coverage of the addressable market by franchise schools.

In 2012, Grupo Multi generated operating profits of £42m and at December 31st 2012 had gross assets of £200m.