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KKR set to buy EuroKids chain for Rs 2,000 crore

US fund may buy 92% stake in EuroKids, Kangaroo Kids and Billabong High from Gaja Cap, Partners Group

Aug 14, 2019, 06.47 AM IST
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MUMBAI: Global private equity major KKR & Co. is set to acquire about 92% of the preschool and school chains that comprise EuroKids, Kangaroo Kids and Billabong High for about Rs 1,500-2,000 crore in what will be one of the largest foreign investments in India’s educational sector.

KKR will buy the stake from existing private equity investors — domestic fund Gaja Capital, which holds about 75%, and Swiss fund Partners Group, which has 17%. The promoter will hold the remaining stake in the preschool chain. A formal announcement of the deal is expected within the next two weeks, sources briefed on the matter told ET.

The deal will be the third acquisition by the US-based firm this year in which it takes on a controlling role, investing about Rs 8,000 crore across the three transactions. “We are advancing towards the signing of the deal, which will be one of the largest deals in the educational space,” said one of the persons. “A formal announcement is expected within the next 10-15 days.”

ET had first reported that KKR was in talks to acquire EuroKids in December last year.

EuroKids has a network of 1,000 schools in 360 cities in India. Founded by Prajodh Rajan and Vikas Phadnis in 2001, the EuroKids manages its own preschools and schools and also operates through franchise model across India.

The EuroKids Group consists of Eurokids International Pvt. Ltd, Euroschool Properties & Infrastructure, Euroschool International, Euroschool Foundation, Euroschool Education Trust, Kangaroo Kids Education and Lina Ashar Foundation. The 12-year-old Euro-Kids acquired preschool chain Kangaroo Kids and Billabong High International Schools last year. Kangaroo Kids has a network of 100 preschools and Billabong High Schools has a network of 21 schools.

In the organised preschool market, EuroKids competes with brands such as Amelio, Kidzee, Little Elly, Lily Candies, Little Einsteins, Modern Montessori International, Shemrock, Smartkidz, Sunshine Preschool & Daycare and TreeHouse.

Aggressive Investor

The Indian preschool education market is valued at about Rs 25,000 crore, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 25%.

New York-headquartered KKR is one of the most aggressive investors in the Indian market with an exposure of close to $8.5 billion through various asset classes including private equity, real estate financing and nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs). Its private equity business alone has invested $3.5 billion in India since setting up shop in the country in 2009. This year it has invested about Rs 4,000 crore in Ramkay Infrastructure and Rs 2,120 crore in Max Healthcare.

Gaja Capital, which acquired a 50% stake in EuroKids in 2013 along with Partners Group, has increased its stake in five years to about 75%. ET reported last September that the homegrown private equity fund had put the three chains on the block, valuing them at $300 million (Rs 2,000 crore), Spokespersons at Gaja Capital and KKR declined to comment. Prajodh Rajan didn’t respond to queries. Partners Group spokesperson declined to comment In January, Gaja Capital exited its investment in John Distilleries Pvt Ltd (JDPL), maker of Original Choice Whisky and Paul John single malt whisky, by selling its 43% stake to Sazerac, a family-owned spirits company in the US, gaining a fivefold return. In 2017, Gaja Capital and KKR had jointly invested about Rs 1,000 crore in Avendus Capital, to scale up its asset management and credit businesses.

Also Read

KKR acquires EuroKids from Gaja Capital

GA, KKR in talks to acquire EuroKids preschool chains

Gaja Capital puts preschool chain EuroKids on the block

EuroKids ties up with SBI for easy loan to entrepreneurs

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