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Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011
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Pearson takes controlling stake in TutorVista for Rs 577 crore
New Delhi, Jan. 18
In one of the largest deals in the Indian education space, the UK-based Pearson Group has acquired a controlling stake in online tutorial TutorVista Global for Rs 577 crore.
Pearson had earlier acquired a minority stake in the Indian start-up and has now upped it to 76 per cent, taking its total equity infusion in the company to Rs 631 crore. The company, better known as the owner of Financial Times and Penguin Books, has made investments in China and Brazil as well.
“The numbers in India before this were not mouth watering enough and we were focusing on other emerging markets. For us now, India presents an enormous opportunity as a centre of excellence in education around the world,” said Mr John Makinson, Chairman, Pearson India.
While Pearson will hold 80 per cent of equity eventually, the entrepreneurs behind the venture, Mr Krishnan Ganesh and his wife, Meena, will continue to retain 20 per cent. Other equity partners such as Manipal Education, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed ventures have exited the project.
TutorVista has more than 2,000 remote teachers in India who coach 20,000 registered students in the US, the UK and other parts of the world. They give virtual tuition classes in primarily Mathematics, Science and English. Apart from teaching Mandarin to students in the US through teachers from HongKong, TutorVista also provides English language coaching in Korea. The objective of the company is to make affordable education accessible, says Mr Ganesh.
“We built the company from the scratch and managed to attract $33 million of venture capital funding. Big companies backed us. It was tough creating a brand from India in the US on an Internet platform and selling an intangible service like tutoring. But I think we managed to scale up and monetise it,” he said. While the TutorVista brand name will be retained, brand Pearson will also be made more prominent, said Mr Makinson.
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