VK is about to acquire the online language school Skyeng, the only large independent company in the online education market. It is reported by The Bell, citing two sources close to both sides.
According to the publication, VK and Skyeng are negotiating a deal, but no documents have yet been signed. The online language school itself declined to comment on the deal.
“We do not comment on rumors. Over the past five years, we have heard such assumptions many times. At the same time, we have always considered and continue to consider going public and strategic partnerships as an important stage in the development of the company,” Ekaterina Zharova, Skyeng PR manager, told The Insider.
At the same time, Aleksey Mordashov's Severgroup company also claims to buy an online language school, which, through the TalentTech IT holding, holds 85% of the shares in Netology Group, which specializes in full-cycle online education.
According to The Bell's interlocutor, Skyeng is looking for new sources of funding to gain a foothold in the market. He also added that for this the school needs to become "more understandable to the state."
“The main task now is to survive and make sure that the business that has been built over the past 10 years does not go down the drain,” a source told The Bell.
In addition to the deal with VK, the company is considering entering the Moscow Exchange. Prior to this, Skyeng was going to conduct an IPO on a foreign stock exchange, but this became impossible after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In education, VK already owns 50.06% of Skillbox Limited. It includes Skillbox and Geekbrains online schools. In 2021, the holding became the market leader, earning RUB 10.4 billion in revenue. In addition, the company has a 25% stake in the Uchi.ru online platform for schoolchildren, 45% in the Tetrika service, and 11.7% in the Algorithmika programming school.
The takeover of the online language school may allow VK to strengthen its position in the commercial education market. However, according to The Bell's interlocutor, Skyeng will develop as an independent brand and is unlikely to be integrated into the company's ecosystem, as happened with other services acquired by VK.
Earlier, VK agreed to acquire the News and Zen services from Yandex. The agreement on the terms of the deal was signed in April, but the companies did not disclose information about the details and timing of its closure. At the same time, The Moscow Times, citing three sources, reported that the presidential administration had banned the sale of VK services, after which Yandex representatives, in a conversation with Interfax, denied the existence of an unspoken ban. In addition, VK claims to buy the online classifieds service Avito and Russia's largest online cinema ivi.