ELT: ILSC, ELS and Berlitz reveal merger
Canada-based ILSC Education Group, English language provider ELS and the Berlitz Corporation have announced a merger that will see the creation of “one of the largest and most comprehensive language learning and study abroad platforms in the world” as the language travel sector continues to consolidate.
Language Education Holdings is the newly formed parent company of ILSC Education Group, which is joined by ELS and Berlitz, forming a company with over 800 university partnerships and approximately 375 centres in over 70 countries.
LEH explained there would be two clear operating divisions going forward: ILSC and ELS will combine as a “study abroad and university pathways” division, while Berlitz remains a “language instruction” division.
ILSC, which offers English, French and Hindi language courses at schools in Australia, Canada, and India, along with vocational training at Greystone College, will grow its reach with the US-based ELS.
“We have collectively expanded our reach and are now in three of the big four top destinations for language travel,” CEO of ILSC Education Group, Paul Schroeder, told The PIE.
“In due course, we will be looking at ways we can enter the UK market – [this merger] has brought those plans to the forefront.”
The news of the merger comes after ILSC recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
“We are thrilled to bring together these two respected international education organisations”
The aim of the merger is to use their combined expertise to enhance their program and destination offerings.
“We are thrilled to bring together these two respected international education organisations,” Curt Uehlein, CEO of ELS and Berlitz on the announcement.
“Together, we can build off our rich histories to expand the scope and further improve the quality and convenience of our educational offerings for our customers,” he added.
Berlitz has multiple centres and its programs are delivered online, in-person and through a blended format to multinational corporations, governments, and individual learners around the world.
"In due course, we will be looking at ways we can enter the UK market"
ELS has a legacy of operating on US campuses and providing preparatory programmes for international students – its centres once numbered 50+ although it currently has 12 centres in operation.
CEO Uehlein spoke to The PIE in 2020 to explain the decision to close 35 centres as Covid impacted students intent on a full immersion experience.
Since 1961, ELS has helped more than 1.2 million students from over 143 countries around the world learn English.
The company has 12 class levels, “state-of-the-art” language centres, a diverse range of support services including testing services and university admission assistance services.
The companies have made clear despite the new ownership structure it will “maintain all current support and communications contacts” for current customers and partners – including over 800 university partners across the globe.
In 2021, BONARD calculated that 156 ELT centres were acquired or merged during 2019, with the number dropping during the pandemic to 21 in 2020 and eight UK transactions in 2021.
Investors in LEH include Quad Partners, an education-focused private equity firm in New York, Colbeck Capital and the LEH management team and founders.