Pearson tipped to bid for Espresso as sale percolates at online learning firm

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The Independent Online

Espresso, the online education group part-owned by ITN and Channel 4, is to go on sale by the end of the month.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the big four accountant, has been hired to handle the sale and is applying the finishing touches to an information memorandum to potential bidders.

Also backed by Beringea, the private equity group, and a series of individuals, the group had planned a £70m sale last year. However, Jefferies, the investment bank which was then reviewing the strategic options, and Espresso have since "parted ways", according to a media source. The source added that Financial Times owner Pearson would be one of the favourites for Espresso, although it is unlikely to fetch the £70m mooted last year.

Espresso supplies video clips and online learning materials to primary and secondary schools. The company was founded by Lewis Bronze, the former Blue Peter editor, in 1997, and he is still the chief executive.

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