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Press Release

June 17, 2019

Kaplan International Acquires Europe’s Largest Language Agency and Enters French and German Language Market

Elizabeth Hess


July 18, London: Kaplan, the global education company, has acquired Heverald, the Switzerland-based owner of ESL Education, Europe’s largest language travel agency, and Alpadia, the chain of German and French language schools and junior summer camps. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The agreement was signed by David Fougere, Chief Operating Officer of Kaplan International English, and Patrick Siegenthaler and Alain Vadi, Co-owners of Heverald on July 11 in Geneva, Switzerland.

As part of the deal, ESL Education will maintain its long-established brand and will continue to operate as an independent agency offering students both premium quality counselling services and a wide portfolio of language schools and destinations. ESL Education has offered a selection of Kaplan English schools as part of its portfolio for years and this partnership will be expanded to include all of Kaplan’s 37 English language schools. Kaplan will add Alpadia’s junior summer camps and French and German language schools to its product portfolio, keeping the Alpadia brand within Kaplan’s family of premium education brands.

David Fougere, Chief Operating Officer of Kaplan International English, said: “Joining forces with ESL Education and Alpadia will strengthen Kaplan’s position in the language travel sector. Kaplan will expand its relationship with the largest language agency in Europe allowing us to reach more students with our premium language courses. By including Alpadia’s French and German language schools in our sales portfolio, we will expand our product offering to the worldwide market.”

Patrick Siegenthaler and Alain Vadi, co-owners of Heverald who will remain non-executive board members of the company for two years, said: “We are delighted to see ESL Education and Alpadia become part of Kaplan. We have been impressed by how well our approach to what it takes to be successful in the language travel sector is aligned with Kaplan’s. It was very important for us to see that the company we created and developed ourselves will continue to grow and thrive.”

ESL CEO Anke Menkhorst said: “Kaplan’s global reach and unrivalled reputation as a leader in international education will reinforce ESL Education’s competitive edge in the European market. Together we will continue to invest and innovate and grow our position in the ELT sector. Kaplan understands the importance of maintaining our reputation for independent high-quality counselling services and for the breadth of our course offerings.”

Ugo Toselli, General Manager of Alpadia, said: “Alpadia’s plans for growth will benefit significantly from being part of Kaplan, one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative private education companies. Kaplan has built a powerful worldwide student recruitment network which will complement the efforts of Alpadia’s sales team to expand our reach into new markets.”

Please contact:
For press queries, Elizabeth Hess, Kaplan,, +44 7983435705
For agent/client queries, Jonathan Peake, Kaplan,, +44 7939398416
For information about ESL, Anke Menkhorst, ESL Education,, + 34 93343 7844
For information about Alpadia, Ugo Toselli,, +41 21 621 84 48

Kaplan International English (KIE)
KIE is one of the largest English-language trainers in the English-speaking world, helping students enrich their lives and careers through language education. Kaplan’s 37 English language schools in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland teach almost 40,000 students from over 150 countries. Kaplan’s specially designed “K+” learning system provides an integrated approach to learning, combining online tools, exercises in class and offline books.

KIE is part of Kaplan Inc., a diversified global education company providing education services with revenues of USD$ 1.45 billion. Established over 80 years ago, Kaplan is now owned by Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC), formerly The Washington Post Company. Kaplan’s other divisions include Kaplan International Pathways, which recruits and prepares international students for degree study at more than 20 leading universities worldwide; Kaplan Open Learning, which delivers degree programmes online on behalf of prestigious universities; and Kaplan Singapore, which offers Kaplan diploma programmes and degree courses in partnership with leading universities in Australia, Ireland and the UK. Kaplan is amoung the world’s largest test preparation providers, helping more than 340,000 doctors, nurses, financial advisors, lawyers and other professionals, as well as secondary and higher education students pass their entrance and licensure exams each year. And, with more than 10,000 corporate partners, Kaplan also trains accountants, engineers, financial professionals and other business people.

ESL is the largest European agency specialised in language travel, firmly based on Swiss roots since its establishment in 1996. With 46 offices across 9 countries, ESL offers an unrivalled portfolio of languages, destinations and programs and works with over 250 schools worldwide. ESL’s high quality services and personalised approach in counselling have consistently resulted in over 95% client satisfaction rates over the years. ESL is a five time winner of the European Agency Studytravel Awards.

Alpadia is a leading Swiss language education group based in Montreux, Switzerland. Established in 1996, its mission is to encourage language development through immersion and to expand the horizons of its students to inspire their futures. With four all-year round schools in Switzerland, Germany and France teaching French and German, Alpadia also provides 14 summer camps offering English, French, German and Italian summer courses for juniors and teens in top European destinations.


Elizabeth Hess
Office: +44 7983435705

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