The head of the North China division of Wall Street English, an Italian international adult English training company, has informed its staff about the upcoming bankruptcy of its China business, which will be finalized next week, CBN reported on Thursday.
The directors of branch schools have also been urged to ask employees to submit their resignations as soon as possible, the report said. An anonymous employee was quoted as saying that the company started closing branch schools after the outbreak of the pandemic last year. The company, which had defaulted on employee salaries for three months, was flooded with offers to leave after the news.
One netizen said on social media, “fortunately, I escaped a bullet. One of Wall Street English’s salesmen asked me to report to class ten days ago.” Another commenter replied, “one salesman persuaded me to buy classes for two hours.”
Wall Street English is a global English training institution for adult and corporate customers. Founded in Italy in 1972, it is now headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The company was acquired by Sylvan Learning Systems in 1997 and by Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm, in 2005.
Since entering the Chinese market in 2000, it has opened 71 learning centers in 11 Chinese cities, hiring over 3,000 staff during its peak time. But now, less than 30 schools are still running, with around 1,000 employees left.
In November 2017, Pearson Group announced that it would sell its Wall Street English business to a fund consortium led by Baring and CITIC Capital for about $300 million.
On June 1 this year, Wall Street English was fined 2.5 million yuan by the State Administration of Market Supervision for false advertisement and price fraud. According to the report, the education firm exaggerated the number of courses offered and gifts distributed and fabricated course registrations on its official WeChat account.