New Silk Route, a leading private equity firm with $1.4 billion of assets under management, has invested up to $25 million in Hyderabad-based Sri Chaitanya Educational Group, which claims to be the country's largest network of private schools and junior colleges, at least two persons familiar with the development said.

An email sent to NSR's spokesperson did not elicit any response at the time of writing this article. VCCircle could not immediately reach the company for a comment.

Sources add that the deal has been completed.  It is also learnt that the money will be infused into the comany in various tranches for a 35%-40% stake. E&Y acted as an advisor to the transaction.

Sri Chaitanya runs around 160 institutions, mostly in Andhra Pradesh, including 116 schools and junior colleges .

There have been many PE investments in the education space in the recent past. Some investments include: Sequoia Capital India, Song Investment Advisors India Pvt. Ltd. putting $15 million into K-12 Education Centre, Mayfield Fund putting $8 million into Centum Learning Ltd and Matrix Partners India, Foundation Capital investing $1.38 million into Tree House Education & Accessories Pvt. Ltd.

This is the second investment of NSR in the education space. It has earlier invested into Lahore & London based Beaconhouse School System.

According to a recent E&Y report on education, the Indian higher education system has established itself as one of the largest in the world, in terms of number of institutions and student enrolment. Higher education spends in India are currently estimated at Rs 46,200 crores and are projected to grow to nearly Rs 150,000 crores in the next 10 years.

Growing global integration and changing macro-economic trends are influencing the composition and preferences of students, leading to new demand-side realities. These include increasing spends on education, new categories of students, willingness to pay for academic quality, increasing demand for global education and demand for employability-linked education.    

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