Business / Corporate

Benesse to buy Minerva, forecasting rising demand for English learning

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Education services provider Benesse Holdings Inc. said Monday it will acquire Minerva Intelligence Co. with the aim of strengthening its English-education businesses.

Benesse, which operates a major chain of English-language schools, said it will purchase all of the stock of Tokyo-based Minerva, which runs about 400 English-language schools for children.

Okayama-based Benesse said Minerva will become a wholly owned subsidiary on Nov. 4. It did not disclose the price it will pay per share.

“Because of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics 2020 and discussion of whether to make English a mandatory subject (with more classroom hours) from the fifth grade in elementary schools, changes are underway in English education,” Benesse said in a statement.

Benesse currently runs about 1,400 English schools for children up to junior high school, and its Berlitz Japan Inc. operates English conversation schools under the Berlitz brand.

“The need for English education is expected to grow from now on, so the first thing Benesse, Berlitz and Minerva can do is to share their know-how, education materials and premises to increase the number of schools,” Benesse spokesman Yu Mitamura said. “We’ll also be able to offer a range of classes wherever we operate a school.”

Benesse runs a popular home education program called Shinken Zemi, the users of which are thought to have been among the victims of a major data leak from Benesse’s client database. The company has been conducting damage control after the details of about 48 million people were sold to mailing list brokers.

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