THE Ayala and Yuchengco groups have approved the merger of their education businesses valued at around P15.5 billion, with listed firm iPeople, Inc. to be the surviving entity.
In a joint statement filed after trading hours on Monday, Ayala Corp. (AC) and Yuchengco-led House of Investments, Inc. (HI) said they have signed the definitive agreements merging their respective education units, AC Education, Inc. (AEI) and iPeople, Inc.
HI will control 51.3% of the surviving entity iPeople, while AC will have a 33.5% stake.
Earlier on Monday, the Philippine Stock Exchange granted HI and iPeople’s requests to suspend the trading of their respective shares until 9 a.m. of Oct. 2 to give the investing public equal access to the material information.
AEI and iPeople’s merger will allow the groups to offer a complete education cycle. iPeople brings to the table Malayan Education System, the operator of Mapua University, which is considered a leading private engineering and technical university in the country.
“We are looking forward to the merger of AC Education and iPeople… Together, our schools will not only aim at educating our youth but also at preparing our graduates to become major players in sustainable businesses driven by adaptive technology,” HI Chairperson Helen Y. Dee said in a statement.
Mapua is ranked as a three-star university by London-based rating body Quacquarelli Symonds, indicating that it has a “reputable level of research and its graduates are attractive to employers.” It also has the most Centers of Excellence in Engineering awarded by the Commission on Higher Education.
Mapua has two subsidiaries, Malayan Colleges Laguna and Malayan Colleges Mindanao.
Meanwhile, AEI owns University of Nueva Caceres, one of the oldest and largest universities in Bicol. It also owns APEC Schools, the largest stand-alone chain of private high schools in the country. APEC Schools has 23 sites across Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, and Batangas with around 16,000 students.
AEI also acquired last February the National Teachers College (NTC), which was the first school in the country to offer general education up to a Bachelor of Science in Education. The Quiapo-based institution has over 10,000 students.
“We believe that combining our resources and capabilities will allow us to, together, enable many more Filipinos achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves, their families and communities, by arming them with the values, critical thinking, global mindset and 21st century skills that are necessary to succeed in this rapidly changing world,” AC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.
The merger will bring iPeople’s combined student population to almost 60,000 students.
AC said the merger will still be subjected to the approval of AEI and iPeople’s respective board of directors, as well as the required regulatory approvals. — Arra B. Francia