Dutch company in talks to buy Laureate India business

Mumbai, May 13: Amsterdam-based Global University Systems (GUS) is in talks to buy the India business of US-based Laureate Education for at least Rs 1,200 crore, said two people familiar with the development. This will be one of the largest buyout deal in the private education space. Laureate, which owns businesses like Pearl Academy, has been in talks to sell its business for over last six months as the company has not been able to make enough money from the India business.
Several other bidders like the Jagran Group and Ranjan Pai-owned Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) have also had discussions with Laureate for the acquisition, but talks with GUS have advanced. Consulting firm EY is advising Laureate on the deal.
“The transaction is being discussed at an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) multiple of 7-8 times,” said one of the sources mentioned above, adding that the business had EBITDA of Rs 150-180 crore.
Email queries sent to GUS and Laureate spokespersons on Friday did not elicit a response till the time of going to press.
Laureate first explored India business in 2003 when it roped in former senior Tata executive Jacob Kurien to spearhead its entry. But it made a significant presence felt only in 2011 when it first acquired a majority stake in Pearl Academy of Fashion, Design and Media.

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