BEIJING, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TAL Education Group (NYSE: XRS) ("TAL" or the "Company"), a leading K-12 after-school tutoring services provider in China, and Babytree, Inc. ("Babytree"), the operator of a leading online resource and community platform for prospective and new parents, jointly announced today that TAL made a minority equity investment in Babytree for an all cash consideration of approximately US$23.5 million.
Founded in 2007, Babytree operates Babytree.com, a digital resource and community platform for pregnancy and parenting that caters to Chinese new and prospective parents both in Greater China and overseas. The Babytree website and its mobile applications offer expert advice and support on care-taking, development and health for prospective and new parents. Babytree addresses five stages of early parenting: preparation for pregnancy, pregnancy, infants (0-1 years), toddlers (1-3 years) and young children (3-6 years). Babytree has also pioneered a fast-growing online-to-offline business with its "Mika (Growing World)" branded subscription service, whereby parents receive a box monthly with books, multi-media games and toys to support their child's development at every stage.
"We are excited with our investment in Babytree as we believe it will help us gain insight into early childhood development and learning, which complements and extends TAL's existing online presence in the pre-K to college space," said TAL's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bangxin Zhang. "Babytree has built a much talked-about online and mobile brand as well as online-to-offline subscription services around China's vast community of young parents. Our investment in this company aligns well with our vision to position TAL at the intersection of where education meets technology. It also suits our business strategy to date, that as we enter new verticals or geographical areas we explore online community first to understand new customers and markets."
"We are delighted to bring in TAL as a strategic stakeholder in Babytree. As a leading player in the tutoring sector, TAL is at the forefront of embracing innovative technology as it explores new online and mobile approaches to learning. We view this investment by TAL as a sound endorsement of Babytree's status as the leading online and mobile parenting platform that caters to pregnancy to pre-school families in China. With a strong commitment to enhancing the parenting experience via online communities and best-in-class online tools and high-quality content, Babytree in its six plus years of history has become the desired channel for reaching China's new parents and families for top brands, manufacturers and content providers. We look forward to bringing TAL, a partner that is dedicated to providing resources and development for the long-term advancement of education in China, into the Babytree community. We believe that this investment and ensuing collaborations also signal the general openness of Babytree to bringing all relevant best-in-class products and services to our massive user population," said Allen Huainan Wang, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Babytree.Safe Harbor Statement This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates" and similar statements. Among other things, TAL Education Group's strategic and operational plans in this announcement contain forward-looking statements. The Company may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its reports filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in its annual reports to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company's beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to the following: its ability to continue to attract students to enroll in its courses; its ability to continue to recruit, train and retain qualified teachers; its ability to improve the content of its existing course offerings and to develop new courses; its ability to maintain and enhance its brand; its ability to maintain and continue to improve its teaching results; and its ability to compete effectively against its competitors. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in the Company's reports filed with, or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information provided in this press release and in the attachments is as of the date of this press release, and TAL Education Group undertakes no duty to update such information or any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.