(Rewrites, adds data about market)
FRANKFURT Feb 20 Germany's Bertelsmann
has agreed to take a controlling stake in United
States-based Alliant International University in a step to
diversify and expand into the business of operating
Europe's largest media group has made education its top
investment priority. It has vowed to achieve 1 billion euros
($1.13 billion) in revenue from a global market that advisory
firm GSV has estimated will be worth $5.5 trillion this year and
$6.4 trillion by 2017.
Of that market about $1.3 billion will be in the hands of
private companies, while the rest will be controlled by
governments, according to GSV.
The market for health and human sciences universities in
North and Latin America is at about $115 billion Bertelsmann
estimates, while the highly fragmented market offers operating
margins of up to 30 percent.
Bertelsmann said it expected to seal similar deals in the
future. "Over the next few years, we will build a network of
universities that deliver innovative education programmes in
various fields of the health and human sciences," Bertelsmann's
Chief Executive Thomas Rabe said.
He did not disclose the size of the investment, but a source
familiar with the transaction said it was in the
Last year Bertelsmann, which controls broadcaster RTL
and co-owns book publisher Penguin Random House,
bought e-learning business Relias Learning for $540 million.
In the education market, the German media conglomerate faces
competition from global players such as Pearson and
($1 = 0.8828 euros)
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde and Joern Poltz; Editing by Liisa
Tuhkanen and Jane Merriman)