Inspired Education, the global premium private school operator, has reached an agreement to acquire AIM-listed online schooling provider Wey Education, in a transaction that values the business above £70 million.
After the deal was announced, Wey Education’s share price climbed 43.1% to 46.5p, slightly below the 47.5p-a-share offer tabled by Inspired.
News of the takeover came hot on the heels of Inspired’s acquisition of online tutoring company Ostaz, which was founded in Lebanon, where Inspired’s founder and chief executive Nadim Nsouli was born.
Inspired’s agreement with Wey Education – which is perhaps the UK’s largest online school and from 2006 to 2010 was led by former Ofsted chair Zenna Atkins – marks its first takeover of a publicly listed business.
Commenting on Inspired’s acquisition of Wey Education, Nsouli said: “We are pleased to receive the recommendation from the Board of Directors for the acquisition of Wey Education, a long-term leader in online education with a strong reputation in the UK and international markets. “We believe this represents an exciting development for both Inspired and Wey, which will support the combined group’s growth nationally and internationally.
“Wey, which is providing a British curriculum education through its online live teaching and learning platform, will now be able to benefit from the support of a global schools group with leading educational experts, strong brand recognition, and premium physical facilities across the globe.”
Global law firm Ashurst is advising Rothschild & Co on the acquisition of Wey Education.
Last year, Inspired announced the launch of King’s College Online, an online-only school that will allow Inspired to enter new markets without requiring a physical presence or brick-and-mortar assets.
Inspired is not the only global school operator pushing into the online schooling space.
In February, Nord Anglia, a rival of Inspired, hired Simon Nelson to set up and lead its new education technology division. Nelson was chief executive of ed tech start-up FutureLearn, launched by the Open University, which has attracted more than 15 million students worldwide to online courses developed in partnership with universities throughout the world.
Inspired was most recently valued at €3.05 billion last June, when Singaporean wealth fund GIC paid €350 million for a 15% stake in the business, as revealed exclusively by this publication.
Date published: 6 April 2021