Tribeca’s acquisition by Washington-Post owned Kaplan is expected to help facilitate the Australian-based financial services education provider’s foray into higher education, according to Don Stammer, Tribeca chairman.

“In the US Kaplan is the second largest University by number of students and the acquisition may see a quicker entry into higher education given the Brendon Nelson reforms,” Stammer said. New products are also likely to be on the agenda. “It’s also reasonable to expect they will introduce new products here,” Stammer said. Kaplan is a major provider of (Chartered Financial Analyst) CFA training courses in the US. The Washington Post subsidiary is offering $55 million, or 45 cents a share, for Tribeca, a 34 per cent premium to the volume weighted average trading price of Tribeca’s shares for the 30-day period prior to the offer. Tribeca rose from the ashes of listed online education provider WorldSchool in 2000. WorldSchool was one of the worst listings on the ASX at the time, dropping 55 per cent on the offer price when it hit the market and the company lost $21 million in its first year of trading after raising $25 million. However, Tribeca turned the business around somewhat after buying financial services education provider Integratec late in 2000 for $2 million. The company then embarked on an ambitious acquisition trail as it focused on providing education to the financial services sector. John Prowse, Tribeca chief operating officer, who headed Integratec and built up Tribeca’s financial services education products resigned two weeks ago. However, Stammer said Prowse’s resignation was unrelated to the takeover offer. Tribeca shares rose over 10 cents to close at 39.5 cents last Thursday when the offer was announced and dropped only slightly to close at 39 cents yesterday. Kaplan made a preliminary offer to Tribeca two months ago and Stammer said the generous price was a major consideration for the board. “I’ve been very impressed by how the Washington Post has chosen professional education as a growth aspect to media,” Stammer said. Shareholders will vote on the offer early next year and if approved it is expected to be completed by March. Local staff are unlikely to be affected by the offer, Stammer said. “They [Kaplan] have no Australian operations and it’s reasonable to expect they will continue the strategy we have in place,” he said. Investment guru Warren Buffet is a major shareholder of the Washington Post and a non-executive director.

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