EC to acquire Study Group’s Embassy English

Published 19/11/2018

Malta-based English language teaching chain EC is set to acquire Embassy English, the global English language teaching chain owned by Study Group, in one of the most significant ELT industry acquisitions of the last decade.

The plan, which is subject to certain conditions and not yet finalised, has been shared with The PIE News and will mean a significantly expanded teaching operation for EC across the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“I have been an advocate for consolidation in our industry at both the school and agency level for quite some time, and I believe that our intent to purchase Embassy English is the right strategic move at the right time,” commented EC’s executive chairman Andrew Mangion.

Embassy English operates adult year-round schools, junior programs under its Young Learners brand, Embassy Summer which is vacation-led programming and Embassy Academy, a boarding school summer product.

Consolidation will mean some school sites likely closing

Australia and New Zealand are two countries that EC had not entered, which will immediately give the enlarged company a wider global footprint.

It also means EC becomes a much larger player in the juniors market, which has proven to be the most resilient sector with consistent growth shown in national statistics over the last few years of turbulent market demand.

“We believe that consolidation will strengthen our core business and allow us to further diversify geographically without creating more competition,” commented Mangion, who added that Embassy English had a “strong and reputable brand”.

Study Group’s new CEO, Emma Lancaster, provided a statement on behalf of the selling side. She maintained the move is good for the ELT industry as a whole, and Study Group will maintain its central focus on its recruitment and pathway business.

“The proposed transaction is a strong development for the sector. Study Group will continue to focus on its core business which is unaffected by the potential sale, and EC will increase Embassy’s offer with its significant, global language teaching expertise,” she said.

The deal will mean consolidation which is needed, according to various industry commentators and follows a few years of heated competitive activity and competing commission payments rising ever upwards among the big players, as reported earlier this year.

But with schools in some of the same cities, this deal will mean some Embassy English sites likely closing.

The PIE understands that company is considering closing Embassy’s adult schools in Brighton, Cambridge, London and Hastings in the UK; the Embassy Toronto school in Canada; and the Embassy US schools in New York, San Diego and San Francisco.

Details of the acquisition are still being finalised and The PIE will update as it learns more.

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