28 Jul 2020

EF announces major investment from Permira for accelerated expansion of EF kids & teens online learning and school network in China

Global investment firm Permira and EF Education First (“EF”) today announced that a company backed by the Permira Funds has agreed to invest in a majority stake in the EF Kids & Teens business headquartered in Switzerland with schools in China and Indonesia. EF will retain a significant ownership in the Kids & Teens business and remains deeply invested in its continued success.

With over 20 years of successful operations, EF Kids & Teens is a market leader in premium English language education with 288 schools across 62 cities in China and 79 schools in Indonesia and one of the largest networks of international teachers. Over the past few months, EF Kids & Teens has successfully helped hundreds of thousands of students learn online through EF’s proprietary learning platform and live EF teachers from around the world.

This strategic partnership will combine EF’s market leadership with Permira’s expertise and resources to accelerate EF Kids & Teens’ growth. The Company plans to expand the school network, invest heavily in academic programs and deliver more innovations such as the Double Wing 1:1 and group online hybrid learning system, which combines the best of in-classroom and online learning.

Philip Hult, Chairman of EF Education First, said: “EF Kids & Teens is a gem in the EF portfolio. With Permira, we have a dedicated partner investing with us to meet the enormous market opportunity. We look forward to growing EF Kids & Teens’ investments in academics and technology and expanding our leading educational programs for the Chinese market. Our long-term commitment to China remains unchanged and we will continue to operate our other businesses, adults education and study abroad programs, as usual.”

Jacob Toren, CEO of EF China, said: “Our singular focus on students has created one of the strongest education brands in China over the past 20 years. Today marks an important milestone for our teachers and staff, as we partner with Permira to accelerate our mission to teach children English and the skills they need to succeed academically and in life.”

Robin Bell-Jones, Partner, Permira commented: “China has emerged as the world’s largest and most advanced market for educational services and Permira is a firm believer in the importance of high-quality education powered by technology. This exciting partnership builds on Permira’s successful track record of backing entrepreneurs in Asia and growth investments in education and edtech, with Curriculum Associates and Renaissance Learning in the US and Universidad Europea in Europe. We have long admired EF Kids & Teens’ relentless focus on product and service quality, which together with its impressive online innovations, position the business optimally in a hybrid learning world. We concluded that there is simply no better way for a child to learn English and look forward to being a long-term partner to EF Kids & Teens.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions.

A teacher teaching her students in a classroom.

EF announces major investment from Permira for accelerated expansion of EF kids & teens online learning and school network in China

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