Ping An, one of China’s largest financial conglomerates, is reportedly set to acquire ed-tech startup iTutorGroup for USD 500 million (RMB 34.5 billion), 36Kr reports.
Last year, iTutorGroup told Bloomberg that it was targeting a USD 2 billion (RMB 13.8 billion) valuation and possible IPO. The Bloomberg story pegged the ed tech’s revenue in 2017 at more than USD 350 million (RMB 2.4 billion).
Ping An refused to comment when contacted by 36Kr, while iTutorGroup denied the acquisition rumor is true.
iTutorGroup operates three major brands: TutorABC, which provides English tutoring services for adults, vipJR, an English and school subject tutoring service for young students, and TutorMing, a Chinese language learning tutoring service.
Its investors include heavyweights like Alibaba, Temasek, and Qiming Venture Partners, who jointly invested USD 100 million in iTutorGroup’s Series B financing in 2014. One year later, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), the Sino-Russian Fund, Goldman Sachs, Jubilee Capital, and Temasek (again) invested USD 200 million for iTutorGroup’s Series C round. The company has not raised new funds since then.
If the acquisition is completed, iTutorGroup will reportedly operate independently as a subsidiary within Ping An, and become the fulcrum of the insurance giant’s “smart education” business.
Another benefit of this tie-up could be iTutorGroup’s ability to leverage Ping An’s massive insurance sales force to gain new customers, which is a necessary but costly task for online tutoring platforms.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.