Ayala, Yuchengco to merge education businesses


Ayala Corp. chair and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala

The Ayala and Yuchengco groups plan to merge their education businesses, a move that will bring institutions like fast-growing high school operator APEC Schools and private engineering and technical university Mapua University under one roof.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp. and the Yuchengcos’ House of Investments (HI) disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday the execution of a non-binding term sheet for the proposed merger of their education arms AC Education Inc. and iPeople inc. which have a combined student population of over 40,000.

Under the non-binding term sheet, the parties entered into an exclusivity period to complete due diligence, and to finalize the terms and conditions of the proposed merger within the first quarter of 2018.

The potential merger 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) Centers of Excellence in Engineering. Also included 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, and APEC Schools, the largest stand-alone 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 press statement.

“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 chief executive officer of Ayala Corp.

The disclosure added that all terms and conditions of the proposed merger, including the involvement of HI and Ayala Corp. in the management of the surviving entity, iPeople, will be presented for approval by the respective boards of directors and merging parties’ stockholders, and the transaction will be subject to the requisite regulatory approvals.

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