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Learning Technologies puts down US marker as expansion continues

“[PeopleFluent] brings interesting technologies back to us … particularly in terms of interactive video and social collaboration tools”

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) made its first major step in the US market in April this year after it acquired digital human resources group PeopleFluent for US$150mln.

The acquisition is the latest push for the e-learning specialist, which has seen its value more than double in the last year, with shares climbing 127% from around 47p last May to 114p , giving a market cap of around £754mln.

PeopleFluent already has a foothold with big players in the US

PeopleFluent already works with 50 of Fortune’s list of the top 100 US companies and generated sales of £83mln and underlying profits [EBIT] of £9.2mln in 2017.

Aside from the obvious income prospects, Learning Technologies’ chief executive Jonathan Satchell says PeopleFluent could also bring technological innovation to the group.

WATCH: PeopleFluent 'a significant addition' to the Learning Technologies group

“[PeopleFluent] brings interesting technologies back to us … particularly in terms of interactive video and social collaboration tools” Satchell told Proactive, adding that PeopleFluent was one of those “unusual acquisitions where we’re not just acquiring a greater breadth of capabilities, some of their technologies …will actually be incorporated into our gomo [learning] and NetDimensions solutions”.

Satchell also says that the “constantly changing knowledge landscape” of the modern business environment gives prospect to the new acquisition as global corporations will “need to ensure their staff in the business are able to deliver at all times”.

The purchase will be Learning Technologies’ biggest to date, with recurring revenues for the enlarged group expected to rise to 68% of the total.

‘Serious’ institutions added to the roster

Satchell added that a share placing to help fund the PeopleFluent acquisition, which generated £85mln in funds and was “many times oversubscribed”, saw some “serious new institutions” added to the shareholder register.

The transformation nature of the acquisition hasn’t been lost on the board either, with Learning Technologies’ chairman Andrew Brode saying that the enlarged group will see an estimated “£135mln revenue and a strong platform for future growth”.

Trading ahead of expectations

The acquisition is the latest move for a company that shot past market expectations last year, posting an EBIT of £14mln, up from £7mln the previous year and “materially ahead of market expectation”, while revenue for the year increased 84% to £52.1mln.

The company also started 2018 trading ahead of expectations, leading analysts at City broker Numis to up their underlying pre-tax profit forecasts by 7%.

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