OSTC expands ed-tech in BG Consulting deal

OSTC expands ed-tech in BG Consulting deal

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Derivatives trading and education firm OSTC has acquired BG Consulting as it expands its ed-tech business and pursues growth in Greater China.

Speaking to Global Investor, OSTC’s chief executive Lee Hodgkinson said: “I firmly believe that companies that are willing and able to take calculated risk during the pandemic will be best positioned to prevail as the economy rebounds, and this transaction is very much part of that philosophy.

“We’re looking to bring on learning and development providers and BG is very much in that mould. We’re looking to acquire other firms in that space throughout the remainder of the year.”

The stock-and-cash acquisition of BG Consulting, which includes a performance-based consideration, follows the purchase of UK options education technology platform Volcube in November, and the opening this month of a Hong Kong office to grow OSTC’s business in Greater China.

“The importance of acquisition activity is that it enables you to leapfrog your strategic goals, especially with a firm like BG,” Hodgkinson said.

BG Consulting, which has offices in London, Dubai and Singapore, provides training in corporate banking, global markets, asset management and hedge funds across North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The firm will be integrated into OSTC’s ZISHI subsidiary, expanding the division's contribution to more than 5% of overall revenues. Hodgkinson said OSTC will continue to look for further M&A opportunities in the global education and training market, which is expected to reach a value of $7.3 trillion (£5.3tn) in total expenditure by 2025.

“We’ve been tracking for the last six months a pipeline of up to 20 target firms, so we’ve got some firm plans on executing our strategic intent,” he said, adding that the acquisition is a natural fit with OSTC’s strategy to pursue significant commercial opportunities in China.

“China will be a strong focus of ours in the years ahead,” Hodgkinson said. “As the Chinese futures markets open up to international participation, we are positioning ourselves as being front and centre to provide market making and liquidity provision activities.

“As the Chinese markets internationalise, there will be an opportunity…to fulfil the need of greater education, so we will see a need for capital markets actors to improve the skills and competencies of their talent as those international firms come to the market.

“We will see a need for more graduates to be workplace-ready coming into these maturing markets, so not just from a trading perspective but also from an education, learning and development perspective, we think there are also some strong opportunities there…for our ZISHI Adaptive and Elite products.”

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