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Grapevine: EuroKids in talks to buy Kidzee; Indonesian billionaire eyes Videocon
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Playschool chain EuroKids is in preliminary talks to acquire the Essel Group-operated Kidzee for between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 crore (approximately between $139.07 million and $166.89 million at current exchange rates), The Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing people aware of the matter, the report said the KKR-controlled EuroKids has made a non-binding offer to acquire Kidzee parent Zee Learn’s educational portfolio and is awaiting a response from the company’s management. The New York-headquartered KKR had acquired a majority stake in EuroKids International Pvt. Ltd in September this year.

EuroKids declined to comment on the offer, according to the report. Essel Group spokesperson said the group was evaluating offers from both strategic and financial investors for Zee Learn.

Kidzee, which was founded in 2003, has around 1,900 preschools in more than 750 cities across the country. It reported consolidated revenues of Rs 549 crore for the 2019 financial year, registering Rs 83 crore in profits after tax.

Separately, Indonesian billionaire Robert Hartono has joined the list of those competing to acquire Videocon Industries under the framework of the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC), the report added.

In total, there are eight players – including strategic and financial investors – that have submitted formal expressions of interest and will start conducting due diligence on the company, the report said, citing people in the banking sector aware of the developments.

Hartono and his family, who owns Indonesia’s largest private-sector bank and tobacco company, are bidding for the stressed business through a holding company. Videocon, which has a consumer and home appliances business with four manufacturing plants, also owns a stake in the Ravva oil field in the Krishna-Godavari basin. The company owes more than Rs 20,000 crore to a group of lenders led by the State Bank of India.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Mitsui & Co. has approached Daiichi Sankyo, asking it to insulate Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Berhad from ongoing litigation in India, The Economic Times reported. Mitsui is the largest shareholder in IHH, which in turn is the largest investor in Fortis Healthcare with the 31% stake.

Daiichi has launched court proceedings against Fortis founders Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh for a Rs 3,600 crore (around $500 million) arbitration award granted to it by a Singapore tribunal. A person aware of the developments said that Mitsui has been negotiating with Daiichi to resolve its matter with IHH and recover its dues from the Singh brothers.

The report comes a day after Fortis said it was considering legal options after the Supreme Court on last Friday held the Singh brothers guilty of contempt for violating its order that asked them not to divest their shares in the hospital chain and withheld an open offer by promoter IHH Healthcare.

In February last year, the Singh brothers resigned from the board of the hospital chain after the Delhi High Court upheld a plea by Daiichi against the duo.

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