It’s been a truism of digital publishing for some time now that the big growth of the next five years will come from emerging economies and FT owner Pearson (NYSE: PSO) is staying true to that orthodoxy. Today the educational publishing giant announced the acquisition of Chinese English-language school that delivers teaching through a mix of online and physical classes. It’s buying Wall Street English (WSE) for a recession-busting $145 million (£97.1 million). Pearson buys the company from parent Wall Street Institute, which is majority-owned by PE firm The Carlyle Group.
WSE currently teaches 35,000 students across 39 physical school centres across eastern China but also offers online lessons, an interactive community of students and teachers and runs online-only management training courses. Between 2006 and 2008 WSE’s revenues grew by 40 percent and this year it expects to make $70 million (£46.8 million) in sales.
Pearson first entered the Chinese English language market last year when it bought the school and college student focussed Learning Education Centre and Dellenglish businesses, which hav esince been rebranded into Pearson’s Longman Schools business. Based on its own figures, Pearson is now the second largest private language trainer in China by revenues and the deal takes its annual education sales revenue in China past $100 million (£70 million).