Buyout group Permira is to take a majority stake in EF Education First’s chain of English-language schools for children in China and Indonesia, reported the Financial Times.
Permira’s investment values the whole business unit, EF Kids & Teens, at about $1.5 billion, according to an FT source. This represents a discount to the originally reported asking price of $2 billion or more.
The deal marks the first time the family-owned education and travel group has sold any part of the business, which was founded by Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult in 1965. It comes as school closures across the word, aimed at halting the march of coronavirus, have ushered in an era of homeschooling, much of it taking place online.
Private equity firms have been circling EF Kids & Teens for months, although Bloomberg reported in April that the pandemic had thrown negotiations into limbo. EF said it would retain “significant ownership” in Kids & Teens. The two groups said the Permira investment would help accelerate Kids & Teens’ growth through expansion of the schools network and further innovation.