Pearson sale of Wall Street English 'near'

Pearson sale of Wall Street English 'near'

Pearson is understood to be in talks with two Asian funds to sell its English-language business, Wall Street English (WSE), for up to $400m.

The sale is yet to be announced. However, according to sources of Reuters, following a joint bid, Baring Private Equity Asia and Citic Capital Holdings for WSE have entered exclusive negotiations with a deal likely to take place mid-November. The expectation is that the sale will raise between $350m and $400m (£265m-£303m) for the education company, Reuters reported hearing from sources. Pearson has declined to comment.

The sale would follow c.e.o. John Fallon's comments in February that the company was looking at cost savings this year "urgently" after the challenges it has been facing in the US education market, and that it had initiated processes to explore a potential partnership for Wall Street English.

Pearson further outlined plans to cuts costs to make annualised savings of £300m by the end of 2019 in May, at which time it announced a "strategic review" of its US school courseware publishing business. In August, it announced the sale of its English test preparation business Global Education (GEDU) to Puxin Education to generate $80m and announced that a further 3,000 jobs with Pearson would have to go by 2020. Earlier this month, it completed the sale of a 22% stake in Penguin Random House to co-shareholder Bertelsmann.

Pearson bought WSE in 2009 for $145m. The English-language education provider has over 400 centers in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, with a current enrollment of over 180,000 students worldwide.