Ayala, Yuchengco tie up to create education powerhouse
The Ayala and Yuchengco groups are poised to merge their education businesses, a move that will bring under one roof key institutions like leading high school chain operator APEC Schools and esteemed engineering university Mapua University.
Conglomerate Ayala Corp. and the Yuchengcos’ House of Investments (HI) disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday the execution of a nonbinding agreement for the proposed merger of their education arms AC Education Inc. and iPeople Inc., which have a combined student population of over 40,000.
Based on the nonbinding term sheet, the parties have entered into an exclusivity period to complete due diligence on the businesses. They expect to finalize the terms and conditions of the proposed merger within the first quarter of 2018.
The transaction will include iPeople and its significant subsidiary, Malayan Education System Inc.—operating under the name of Mapua University—a QS world-ranked three-star university and the school with the most Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-designated centers of excellence in engineering.
A Center of Excellence refers to a department within a higher education institution that “continuously demonstrates excellent performance in the areas of instruction, research and publication, extension and linkages and institutional qualifications.”
Also included in the potential merger are Malayan Education’s subsidiaries, Malayan Colleges Laguna, cited as the best board exam-performing private school in the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) area, and Malayan Colleges Mindanao.
For its part, Ayala brings to the table AC Education Inc. (AEI) and its subsidiaries University of Nueva Caceres, one of the oldest and largest universities in Bicol, aside from APEC Schools, the largest standalone chain of private high schools in the country.
“We are looking forward to this potential merger. Mapua’s reputation as a leading private engineering and technical university in the country, together with AEI’s ability to provide quality education leading to enhanced employability, at an affordable price, would enable the Yuchengco group of companies and Ayala Corp. to jointly contribute to the improvement of the quality of education in the Philippines, for the benefit of all sectors of society,” HI chair Helen Yuchengco-Dee said in a joint press statement with the Ayala group.
“We are very pleased about this opportunity to partner with the Yuchengco group of companies to help build our nation through education. Our belief is that the potential combination of iPeople and AEI would create significant synergies that would enable us to better equip students for compelling futures,” said Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chair and CEO of Ayala Corp.
The disclosure added all terms and conditions of the proposed merger, including the involvement of HI and Ayala Corp. in the management of the surviving entity, iPeople, would be presented for approval by the respective boards of directors and merging parties’ stockholders. The transaction will still be subject to the requisite regulatory approvals.
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