People Combine operated a successful chain of premium international schools –Oakridge. The group was extremely well managed, had a solid leadership team and always had a very high level of corporate governance. The promoters after building the business for more than two decades wanted to monetize their hardwork by finding a strategic partner for the business.
K12 in India has always been marred with regulatory overhang and hence at the start the deal looked very infeasible. Add to this the complex structure that the business had with multiple other non-education and education vertical making the process an extremely one.
The team worked with the management to make the business deal ready. A plan to carve out all non-education and all non core businesses was laid out and executed. The financials were recasted and the business plan was drawn afresh – we were certain that the value can be maximized only by selling the right portion of the business to the right operator. Everything apart from Premium K12 was carved out.
The team also worked closely with financial and legal consultant to conduct vendor diligences before taking the deal to the market. This ensured early identification and rectification of issues.
The K12 transaction space has been very shallow in India. Additionally People Combine was one of the largest premium K12 operator in the country and hence finding another local operator with sufficient capital and expertise was difficult. Alternatives like global K12 operators or family offices looking to get into K12 seemed feasible option – ofcourse regulatory comfort was a challenge. Finally NaE – a global operator with presence across multiple countries was
Given the complex nature of for profit education and the web of unrelated businesses in the group – deal execution here was extremely challenging. Add to this the investor wanting to buy only significant majority and not 100% , wanting to buy only the operating company and not real estate associated with the school – all of which added to the complexity. The team maneuvered through these nuances and found innovative and timely solutions to successfully close the deal to everybody’s satisfaction.