September 26, 2018 / 11:05 PM / 2 months ago

Brazil's Arco Platform to seek acquisitions in education-related services

SAO PAULO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian educational software firm Arco Platform Ltd, which saw its value soar 34 percent to $1.18 billion in its Nasdaq debut on Wednesday, now plans to seek acquisitions in the education-related services arena, its CEO said in an interview.

The company raised around $220 million in a highly sought initial public offering. Shares were priced at $17.50 on Tuesday, the top of their indicated range, as investors seemed to shrug off political uncertainties over the country’s presidential election.

Arco Chief Executive Ari de Sá Cavalcante Neto said that in addition to eyeing rival learning systems, the company is likely to seek providers of services complementary to primary and secondary private schools.

As examples, he cited school management tools or apps to handle communication between teachers and children’s families and systems that teach in accordance with students’ specific needs.

In meetings with investors, Arco marketed itself more as a technology company than as an education company, as it delivers part of its learning system to schools through digital platforms.

Also key to a successful IPO was the fact that Arco kept growing in terms of the number of schools and students using its services during Brazil’s recent recession, the worst in decades.

The for-profit education company was founded in 2004 by the Sá Cavalcante family. Ten years later, U.S. private equity firm General Atlantic acquired a minority stake.

Arco posted net income of 54.3 million reais ($13.47 million) in the first six months of 2018 and net revenue of 195.1 million reais.

The company had hired Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Itaú BBA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Allen & Company, BTG Pactual and UBS to manage the offering.

$1 = 4.0310 reais Reporting by Carolina Mandl Editing by Tom Brown

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