PE firm KKR enters education sector in India, buys 90% stake in EuroKids

In its third control deal this year, private equity firm KKR India will buy around 90 per cent of education company, the EuroKids Group, from Gaja Capital and the company’s (EuroKids) founders. 

The deal will be done in a single tranche of Rs 1,400 crore or $200 million, according to sources who are aware of the transaction. They added that the deal will be concluded at the end of this month. 

Earlier, control deals for KKR included the 60 per cent buyout of  Ramky Enviro Engineers for $530 million and a majority stake in Max Healthcare in India. 

The EuroKids deal marks its foray into the space but worldwide KKR has executed transactions in education across geographies. 

Its global deals include investments in the UK-based Cognita Schools which offers K-12 education as well as the Baltimore-based Laureate International Universities, an American network of colleges. The Centre, in recent times, has stressed on the need for reforms for education and its growing role in the country’s development.

Sources said growth capital firm General Atlantic was also engaged in a possible transaction involving EuroKids. 

Spokespersons at KKR India and Gaja Capital, however, declined to comment. 

Founded in 2001 by partners Prajodh Rajan and Vikas Phadnis, the EuroKids Group manages preschools and schools upto Class 12 and also runs a franchise model in India. The EuroKids Group consists of Eurokids International Pvt Ltd, Euroschool Properties & Infrastructure and Euroschool International. It also owns schools such as Billabong High and Kangaroo Kids.

The group generated revenue of Rs 350 crore in FY18, and most recently around Rs 450 crore. It has been growing around 22 per cent a year, sources said, adding that its strategy has been to offer quality education at strategic locations across the nation. 

Gaja Capital, which acquired 50 per cent in EuroKids in 2013 along with its Swiss investor Partners Group, increased its stake in five years to about 75 per cent. EuroKids has around 1,000 schools in 360 towns in India, Nepal and Bangladesh while EuroSchool runs a chain of 10 K-12 schools in six Indian cities. Other players in the pre-school segment include Modern Montessori International, Shemrock, and TreeHouse. 

Education and related areas are a key focus for the Gopal-Jain led Gaja Capital and other investments including CL Educate, SportzVillage and Educational Initiatives.

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