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Wide Learning secures more funding

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Online financial learning specialist, Wide Learning has attracted a £1.27 million ($2 million) preferred equity investment from GE Equity. This follows the announcement in July of new financing from a group led by J.P. Morgan Capital Corporation and brings the amount raised by Wide Learning in its current funding round to approximately £10.3 million. ($16.2 million)

Elliot Royce, senior vice president at GE Equity and head of its investing activities in training and education will join the board of Wide Learning.

The announcement follows GE Equity’s recent investment in Imparta, the online e-learning strategy company.

The new funding will further improve Wide Learning’s e-learning offerings through its ever-increasing customer base, as well as its expansion into the United States over the coming months. This will be used to create more electronic course content, develop new revenue from the syndication of micro-learning courses known as Quicksights™ and establish a range of strategic partnerships, both in the UK and the US. Wide Learning’s current Quicksights™ partners already include FT.com, Fidelity and Hargreaves Lansdown.

Over 100 clients already benefit from Wide Learning’s premium e-learning solutions, including four out of five top UK banks and customers of the new SME portal Work24. Wide Learning’s customers will benefit further from this new investment. The company is already in the process of developing e-learning packages with leading partners including the Securities Institute, with which it enjoys an exclusive relationship.

Luke Montagu, a founder and CEO of Wide Learning said:
“We are delighted to welcome Elliot Royce to the board of Wide Learning at this crucial point in the company’s development. His experience will further strengthen our team, just as this new finance from such a highly regarded investor will enhance our capabilities.

“GE Equity has made a number of investments in online learning in Europe and the US and is respected for the quality of its portfolio. Its decision to invest in Wide Learning in the UK underlines the attractiveness of our financial learning products to top banks, financial service providers and corporations worldwide.

Elliot Royce, senior vice president at GE Equity, commented:
“Wide Learning is a market-leading company in a fast-growing industry. We were impressed with its effective use of instructional design, its differentiated content and its innovative thinking around leveraging e-commerce solutions to create competitive advantage to all its financial and corporate customers. At a time when e-learning is increasingly focusing on vertical markets such as financial services, we believe Wide Learning is especially well-placed with its domain knowledge and strategic partnerships.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Luke Montagu, CEO/ Simon Eyers, CFO, Wide Learning 020 7253 1211
Ron Finlay/ Laura Wallace, Fishburn Hedges 020 7839 4321
[email protected]

Fergus Wheeler/Suzanne Ivory, Financial Dynamics 020 7831 3113
[email protected]

Photographs and graphics are available on request.

Notes to editors:

About Wide Learning
Founded in March 1997, Wide Learning is a specialist provider of technology based financial training to City, corporate and consumer markets. Over 70 companies have bought Wide Learning’s CD-Rom or online training products. Wide Learning now employs over 80 people. Wide Learning course content is developed by a team of ex-City practitioners financial training tutors and web media experts. The team combines the best educational content with technological expertise to produce market leading online interactive learning.

Current content series available to corporate and bank customers cover such areas as Global Financial Markets, Derivatives and Analysis of Financial Statements, while titles such as Financial Decision Making and The Value of Equity will be launched shortly. As well as its corporate service, Wide Learning also offers a consumer-focused service on its website (www.widelearning.com), with 25 courses and 25 micro-learning Quicksights already online. The company website won a Gold BIMA (British Interactive Multimedia Association) award for Best New Consumer Focused Service earlier this month

About GE Equity
GE Equity is one of the leading providers of equity capital to growing companies. It has $1 billion a year available to invest in growth capital, replacement or secondary capital, buy-outs and buy-ins. GE Equity’s European headquarters are in London, with offices in Milan, Warsaw andFrankfurt.

GE Capital, with assets of more than US$345 billion, is a global, diversified financial services company with 28 specialised businesses. A wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital, based in Stamford, CT, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialised financing, speciality insurance and a variety of consumer
services, such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world. GE is a diversified manufacturing, technology and services company with operations worldwide. For more information see the GE website http://www.ge.com.

About Elliot Royce
Elliot Royce is Senior Vice President of GE Equity and serves as Industry Leader for its training and education investments. Prior to this role, he helped to found GE Equity’s European office in 1996, having previously worked at McKinsey, First Boston and Dillon, Read. He was educated at Harvard (BA) and Insead (MBA).

Elliot is a well-known private equity investor in, and expert on, online learning. He is also a regular conference speaker on online learning in the US and Europe.

Laura Wallace

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