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U.S., China online education firms to merge

HONG KONG, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Online education companies Eleutian Technology and Idapted Ltd said on Wednesday that they will merge, bringing together the U.S. and Chinese companies in the fast-growing $100 billion market for online English instruction.

Backers of the new company, which will retain Eleutian's name, include Cheyenne Capital and Gobi Partners, as well as former Kleiner, Perkins partner Russell Siegelman and Xu Xiaoping, co-founder of New York-listed Chinese education company New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc EDU.N, Eleutian said in a statement.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under the merger, Kent Holiday will remain as president and CEO, while Idapted Cjief Executive Adrian Li will become general manager for China.

“By combining with Idapted, its excellent technology platform, its talented China-based engineering team, and its supply of American voice-only tutors, Eleutian Technology can accelerate its growth and more successfully (pursue) the $100 billion market for English language instruction,” Robert Grady, chairman of the new company, said in a statement.

China's online education sector is growing fast, but is also becoming increasingly competitive. Other players include New Oriental, ChinaEdu Corp CEDU.O and China Distance Education Holdings Ltd DL.N. (Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Chris Lewis)