Pearson buys Educomp’s 50% stake in vocational education JV IndiaCan

Pearson Plc, the world’s largest education service provider and one of the leading media groups, has acquired Educomp Solutions Ltd’s 50 per cent stake in IndiaCan, a vocational training company formed as a joint venture between the two firms in 2009, for an undisclosed sum.

VCCircle first reported that the firm was in talks to buy Educomp’s 50 per cent stake in IndiaCan.

With this stake buy, Pearson has become the sole owner of IndiaCan. Gurgaon-based IndiaCan offers skills training, helping young people gain employment and enabling working professionals to hone their skills. It operates in the Indian market through its three divisions – ETEN (a professional training unit), The PurpleLeap and a government division.

Educomp, which is backed by distressed and special situations-focused fund Mount Kellett Capital, as well as the World Bank arm IFC, has been shedding assets since the beginning of 2013. Earlier, it sold its 50 per cent stake in pre-school chain EuroKids International to the consortium of financial investors led by Gaja Capital Partners, for Rs 120 crore. Then it also diluted its stake in online education firm AuthorGen Technologies to private equity firm Kaizen and German media major Bertelsmann.

“Exiting IndiaCan is in line with our stated consolidation strategy and business transformation agenda, which is to focus on digital content & IP offerings and asset-backed offerings like schools and colleges,” said Shantanu Prakash, chairman and MD of Educomp.

Educomp scrip closed at Rs 58 a share, down 3.49 per cent on the BSE in a weak Mumbai market on Tuesday.

The acquisition comes soon after Pearson consolidated its stake in Bangalore-based education-cum-consumer internet services firm TutorVista earlier this year.

“IndiaCan has developed market-leading expertise in retail and vocational training & support that will supplement Pearson’s goal to help improve learning outcome for students throughout India,” said Bhavneet Singh, president of Pearson English & Informal Learning.

In 2009, Pearson invested $17.5 million in IndiaCan (then known as Educomp Vocational Education Pvt Ltd) to pick up 50 per cent stake from Educomp. British media group Pearson provides educational materials and services, business information through the Financial Times Group and consumer publishing under the Penguin brand.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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