Everonn Education Limited (Everonn), a part of Varkey Group /GEMS Education – Dubai, has struck a deal to acquire Centum Learning Limited, a privately held company of the Bharti group, which is into training programmes and skill development solutions, in a cash and stock transaction. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
Bharti Family Office of the Mittals will receive an undisclosed amount in a combination of cash and equity shares in public listed Everonn. The Bharti Family Office manages investments made by the promoters of the Bharti group in their personal capacity.
Everonn is one of the largest VSAT education network in the world and has presence across the educational eco-system. Its education content covers students from pre-school to B-schools. Everonn is also into the vocational training space.
Centum has a presence in 20 countries across Africa and South Asia and comes with rich experience in the training and skill development domain across 21 industry verticals. The deal will also give Everonn an entry into the key emerging economies across South Asia and Africa.
Everonn scrip rose 3 per cent in a weak Mumbai market on Wednesday to close at Rs 169.1 a share on the BSE. At this price, the company has a market cap of Rs 368 crore or $67 million.
Commenting on the deal, Rakesh Sharma, director, Everonn Education Limited and CEO of GEMS Education India and special advisor to the chairman of GEMS Education said, “With this acquisition, Everonn will expand its reach in the Indian training space by adding Corporate Training, the flagship product of Centum, as a new vertical, while other business segments of Centum (skill development, employment generation, professional education & training) will seamlessly integrate with the existing verticals of Everonn.”
He added, “Another significant opportunity for Everonn is the gateway to the African Continent with Centum’s presence in over 17 countries in Africa. Everonn will be in a position to take its education products and services to these countries and will be the first significant step in Everonn becoming a major global player in its space.”
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, chairman, Centum said, “This transaction is in line with our stated objective of focusing our energies on our core businesses through which we are making a deeper impact both in India and abroad. We believe Everonn is well positioned to take Centum to the next level and we will continue to support them towards the same.”
Centum is working with over 350 global corporations for their training requirements. Centum has set up more than 170 Centum Learning Centres in 150 cities across India to bridge the talent gap and launched Centum U, which offers workforce degrees in association with globally acclaimed universities and institutes.
Gulf-based entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, who owns one of the world’s largest private school companies, had last year boarded Everonn as a co-promoter and later raised its holding to become the largest shareholder. This came right after Everonn’s co-founder and managing director P. Kishore was arrested by the CBI in an alleged bribery and tax evasion case.
Varkey Group’s GEMS Education claims to be the largest private school operator in the world for K-12 students. There are over 100,000 students in GEMS Education schools hailing from well over 100 countries. GEMS employs approximately 9,000 people and the company runs schools in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, India, China and the UK.
Private equity firm New Vernon, which held over 5 per cent stake in Everonn till September 2011, exited the company during the last quarter of 2011.