Business

Lorna Whiston Schools sold, its United Square branch to expand

Enrichment centre chain Lorna Whiston Schools has changed hands again - this time bought as part of a multimillion-dollar Asia expansion push by Singapore-based group ChangedEdu.

Lorna Whiston Schools' flagship United Square branch, spanning 7,400 sq ft over two storeys, will grow its floor space by 3,000 sq ft come next month, as it adds a black box theatre and dedicated studios for O-level preparation classes.

The acquisition is part of an expansion announced earlier this year, as ChangedEdu plans to invest about US$300 million (S$407 million) to US$500 million in global education brands over the next three to four years.

The group, which has a business focus on Asian students, also said yesterday that it will open a branch of American college counselling network Collegewise here later this year to advise students on overseas university applications.

In addition, ChangedEdu is opening a Vietnamese branch of student support service provider Gateway Education next year. It already has offices in China, Britain and the US.

It has also acquired six centres of language school Wall Street English in Ho Chi Minh City, with plans to open more there and in Hanoi.

ChangedEdu's takeover of Lorna Whiston Schools comes on the heels of the brand's buyout last year by private equity firm Rising Tide Asia.

Lorna Whiston Schools, opened in 1980, is not the only private education operator here to have garnered hefty investor interest.

The Learning Lab, another tuition chain, in 2014 sold a stake for around S$300 million to Boston-based private equity firm Advent International. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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