Brazilian Ed. Companies Court Investors as School Market Evolves

Managing Editor

A pair of Brazilian education companies are moving forward with plans to raise money through initial public offerings, in one of the clearest examples to date of the growth in demand for educational services in the country, and across Latin America.

Anima Educacao has said it plans to raise 626 million in reais, Brazil’s currency and the equivalent of about $280 million, while Grupo Ser Educacional S.A. and its shareholders are seeking to raise $976.5 million reais from an initial public offering, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal.

Demand for educational services has surged in Brazil because of overall economic expansion and the need for a more skilled workforce.

Both Anima Educacao and Grupo Ser Educacional are focused on providing  postsecondary education, according to Reuters, which says initial public offerings in Brazil have become an attractive option for companies running colleges, language schools, and learning systems providers.

But as we’ve reported, demand for education and new ways of delivering it through technology is growing in Brazil, as it is in many parts of Latin America, analysts say. The group Ambient Insight said recently that revenue from the sale of mobile devices is likely to quadruple across the region, to $1.4 billion, by 2017.

Some of that spending is likely to be driven by public investment. The federal government in Brazil, for instance, has announced plans to buy 900,000 tablets for more than 58,000 schools, the market research company noted.

Earlier this year, we reported on a request for proposals floated by a Brazilian state government, Sao Paulo, worth an enormous amount of money—$2.73 billion in U.S. dollars—to cover an array of ed-tech products and services.

That request drew bids affiliates of a number of American education companies, according to Nelson B. Heller, an education industry analyst and consultant. (The status of that project, and how soon it might actually be executed, however, remains unclear.)

More recently, Ambient reported on the overall growth of demand for education-focused games across Latin America. Currently, the top-buying markets for education-focused games are the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, and India, in that order.

But by 2017, there will be a re-ordering of that demand, predicts Ambient. The biggest buyers will be China, the United States, India, Indonesia, and—you guessed it, Brazil.

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