New Oriental-Backed Online Learning Firm Said to Plan U.S. IPO

(Bloomberg) --, a Chinese online learning provider, is planning a U.S. initial public offering that could raise about $300 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Beijing-based company, which is backed by New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., aims to sell shares as soon as the first half of this year, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Sunlands, founded in 2003, provides online courses for students seeking professional qualifications in industries like accounting and teaching. It also offers language classes, 3D animation training and courses to help students prepare for a master’s degree in business administration. This month, 4,839 users have bought a 10-hour course that “covers legal matters one would face in a lifetime,” Sunlands’s website shows. 

Chinese education companies have completed $1.2 billion of overseas IPOs in the past year, with their shares rising a weighted average of 46 percent since listing, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bright Scholar Education Holdings Ltd., the private-school chain controlled by property tycoon Yeung Kwok-keung’s family, has nearly doubled in value since it began trading in the U.S. in May and now has a $2.4 billion market capitalization.

Calls to Sunlands’s office weren’t connected, while an official contact listed in Sunlands corporate registry filings didn’t immediately answer an email seeking comment.

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