Northern Ireland headquartered Learning Pool expects to grow its business in the US to more than 50% of turnover following a recent Ulster Bank-backed acquisition – the third acquisition by the company that Ulster Bank has supported.
As part of ambitious expansion plans targeting the US market, Northern Ireland e-learning company Learning Pool acquired the Denver, Colorado-based Remote Learner last month, making it the fourth company to join the Learning Pool Group and the third acquisition supported by Ulster Bank.
Since 2016, Learning Pool has been backed by private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI), an investment fund sponsored by The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group.
It was through the CCI sponsorship that Ulster Bank first developed its relationship with Learning Pool, supporting the company with its first acquisition of e-learning business Mind Click, a GB-based competitor with offices in Nottingham and Brighton.
An award-winning leader in bespoke e-learning solutions, Mind Click had a large share of private sector companies which complemented Learning Pool’s public sector focus, which includes government bodies and other organisations such as the NHS.
Learning Pool has since acquired three more companies, including the Glasgow-based MediaCorp in 2018 and the Ulster Bank backed acquisitions of the Oxfordshire-based HT2 Labs in 2019 and Remote Learner in 2020.
Remote Learner is the fourth company to join the Learning Pool Group in as many years. For the past two decades it has delivered e-learning solutions to thousands of clients including recruitment giant Indeed, Royal Caribbean Group and Ultimate Kronos Group.
Learning Pool Group CEO Paul McElvaney said: “Acquiring Remote Learner is strategically important for us and will help us grow our US business which currently accounts for about 30% of turnover and we expect to increase to 50% pretty quickly. Ulster Bank has supported us to make our last three acquisitions and have been a great help to us on that journey.”
Commenting on the acquisition, Kenton Hilman, Head of Corporate and Property at Ulster Bank, said: “We at Ulster Bank have a very strong relationship with the team at Learning Pool, a high-growth and acquisitive business that has acquired four leading e-learning companies in as many years.
“The acquisition of Remote Learner, the third that Ulster Bank has supported, will enable Learning Pool to maintain its commitment to e-learning excellence. It ensures the company has the capacity to deliver quality learning solutions to its existing customer base while also gaining foothold in the US market and establishing a base of operations from which to grow its business in North America.”
Speaking about the growth of technology-driven learning, Kenton added: “Public and private sector organisations have taken major strides forward in their adoption of technology-enabled teaching and learning on account of recent global events. With the support of learning and development technologies offered by companies like Learning Pool these organisations have been able to adapt quickly and efficiently to provide effective and personalised learning solutions for their employees in challenging market conditions.”
Today, Learning Pool has a client base totalling more than 1,100 companies around the world, and its e-learning solutions are estimated to support 5.1 million learners.
From its first acquisition in 2016, Learning Pool’s global workforce has grown three-fold from 80 to more than 260 today.