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Pearson Buys Certiport to Strengthen Its IT Testing Business Globally

By SiliconIndia   |  
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Bangalore: Pearson, the educational publisher made a move to beef up its international professional IT testing business when it announced that it is buying Certiport on May 16, 2012. Certiport is a developer, marketer and distributor of certification exams, programs and practice tests for IT and digital literacy skills from software companies like Microsoft, Adobe, HP and Intuit, for $140 million in cash from the private equity firm Spire Capital Partners.

The deal will give Pearson’s VUE unit, where Certiport will sit, much further reach into the retail distribution of testing services in markets outside U.S. and UK. Certiport currently sells its certifications and assessments through a network of 12,000 testing centers operated by 70 partners in 150 countries, serving the range of skills in the world of IT. In all, it delivers 225,000 exams in 27 languages every month, and generated revenues of $48 million in 2011.

With Certiport having 60 percent of its business currently outside U.S., the deal will mean not only a stronger profile in IT educational services for Pearson, but a window on to a wider geographic footprint, especially in Asia and the Middle East. The existing testing network will also become a channel that Pearson can use to distribute testing and certification content already in its portfolio.

Rona Fairhead, chief executive of Pearson’s professional education businesses said that “Certiport is a high-quality company serving the significant demand for foundation IT skills. That need is growing fast and is truly international”. She also added “The combination of Pearson VUE and Certiport will strengthen both businesses and will give us a unique portfolio of technology assessments and certification, serving everyone from a basic word-processing user to technology experts.”

Pearson notes that Certiport’s revenues have been growing at a compound annual rate of 20 percent in the last three years, with the integration costs for Certiport expensed in 2012 and the acquisition showing up in Pearson’s earnings from 2013.

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