Pearson steps up investment in India

50:50 joint venture with Educomp Solutions to target vocational learning

Investment in Tutorvista adds international online learning platform

Pearson today announces investments totalling $30m in two of India's leading education companies, building its position in one of the world's largest and fastest-growing education markets.

Educomp Solutions, founded in Delhi in 1994, is India's leading listed education company, listed on India's Bombay and National stock exchanges and serving more than 12 million students across India, North America and Singapore. Pearson and Educomp have established a 50:50 joint venture to offer vocational and skills training in India. As part of the agreement, Pearson will acquire a 50 per cent ownership stake in Educomp's existing vocational training business.

The joint venture will provide vocational training to students and professionals across a range of industries including financial services, retail and construction. It will have a focus on English language training, which is often critical to an individual's employment prospects. Training will be delivered both online and through Educomp's network of centres, using Pearson's educational content, technology and related services.

TutorVista, headquartered in Bangalore, provides online tutoring services for K-12 and college students. It connects experienced tutors with more than 20,000 registered students using Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol and online whiteboards to work through problems, demonstrate solutions and conduct assessments in subjects including math, English, biology, chemistry and physics. TutorVista also runs English language coaching and test preparation for SAT, ACT, AP and other exams. The company was founded in 2005 by one of India's best-known technology entrepreneurs, Krishnan Ganesh.

Pearson has acquired a 17.2 per cent stake in TutorVista, making Pearson its largest shareholder, and intends to add TutorVista's online tutoring to its range of services for students in North America, the UK and other parts of the world. Manipal Education and Medical Group, one of India's largest and most respected education companies, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners are also TutorVista shareholders. Pearson will work with both TutorVista and Manipal to develop new businesses for the schools market in India.

India's government currently invests $30bn each year or 3.7 per cent of GDP in education, while Indian consumers spend an additional $50bn each year on private educational institutions and services. Both segments of the market are growing rapidly as a result of government commitment to increase quality of and access to learning opportunities as a means of sustaining economic growth and reducing poverty. India's new government has identified 'employability' as a priority and is committed to increasing the supply and range of skills training for its young and rapidly-growing labour force. Government bodies including the National Knowledge Commission argue that this investment is essential to India's competitiveness and sustained economic growth.

Marjorie Scardino, chief executive, said:

"We have great respect for the expertise, capabilities and innovation that Educomp and TutorVista have brought to the education market. We are enthusiastic about being their partners, because we see India not only as a big growth market in itself, but also as a place for us to build businesses that will be relevant across the world."

Ends

For more information

Pearson: Luke Swanson/ Simon Mays-Smith/ Charles Goldsmith + 44 (0) 207 010 2310

Pearson India: Khozem Merchant 00 91 982 006 0485

Pearson in India

Pearson has a longstanding and growing presence in India. Pearson Education is the country's leading publisher in the higher education and schools segment; Penguin Books India publishes the country's best-known authors including Shobhaa De, Nandan Nilekani and Amitav Ghosh; and The Financial Times has a leading position among global news organisations in its coverage of Indian economic and business affairs. More recently Pearson's professional testing business Pearson Vue established its Asia-Pacific headquarters in India, recognizing the potential of the market, and MergerMarket, a provider of high-value market intelligence for financial institutions, set up a bureau in 2007.