Pearson, the educational publisher, recently announced plans to acquire Certiport, a maker and distributor of certification and practice tests for IT skills, for $140 million in cash from Spire Capital Partners, the private equity firm.
Founded in 1997, Certiport produces certification programs for Microsoft, Adobe, HP, Intuit and other technology companies. Certiport has a network of 12,000 testing centers operated by 70 partners in 150 countries to sell certifications and assessments, delivering 225,000 exams in 27 languages every month. Certiport generated $48 million in revenue in 2011. Its revenues have increased 20 percent annually for the past three years.
“Certiport is a high-quality company serving the significant demand for foundation IT skills. That need is growing fast and is truly international,” Rona Fairhead, CEO of Pearson, said in a statement. “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 basic word-processing users to technology experts.”
The acquisition is an effort on the publisher’s part to strengthen its international professional IT testing business. The deal allows Pearson’s VUE unit to extend its global reach of testing services beyond the US and UK. It also extends Pearson’s product range. More than 60 percent of Certiport’s revenues come from outside North America, with particular strength in Asia and the Middle East.
Pearson will expense integration costs related to the deal in 2012. The company expects the acquisition to improve adjusted earnings per share and generate a return on invested capital above its weighted average cost of capital from 2013 when the company has had a full year to benefit from the sale.