Nikhil Gandhi-led infrastructure firm SKIL is acquiring 20.9% stake in Chennai-based Everonn Education Ltd for Rs 208.4 crore. New Vernon-backed Everonn is a fully integrated knowledge management, education and training firm.

The deal will mean SKIL diversifying from physical infrastructure business to social infrastructure arena of education that is fast emerging as a new age investment destination. VCCircle first reported that SKIL promoter is expected to buy over 15% in Everonn on Friday.

The stake purchase is through issue of convertible debentures that would give SKIL a stake of 21% post equity dilution. It would make SKIL a co-promoter of the firm and will trigger an open offer. However, the move did not lead to any significant stock price movement for the day.

After hectic buying in early trade hours the stock last traded at Rs 558.9 or just 0.22% up from the previous day. SKIL is estimated to be picking shares at Rs 521 a piece. This could be because the share price has already moved over 30% in the last one month.

The promoters own around 26% stake while institutional shareholders have a 35% stake in Everonn. India China Pre-IPO Equity Mauritius Ltd holds a 5.56% while private equity firm New Vernon holds a little more than 3% stake.

Everonn had recently announced its foray into K-12 space. It plans to open around 300 schools under Ken Bridge brand over the next five years with a total investment outlay of Rs 3,600 crore. The company reported revenues of Rs 293.5 crore with a net profit of Rs 45.4 crore for FY10.

SKIL also reportedly has major plans in education space. The infrastructure firm plans to build a Knowledge Corridor, which will be a specially planned fully residential Hi-tech city that will provide education, training and research in diverse fields.

SKIL Infra which is backed by AIG’s PE arm, has been active in the M&A front. It recently bought the stake of partners Punj Lloyd in Pipavav Shipyard and also completed an open offer, strengthening its holding in the company.

This calendar year has already seen 13 deals worth $168 million till date, 90% higher than the total investments of $88 million across five deals witnessed in the whole calendar 2009, according to VCCEdge, the financial research platform of VCCircle. The largest deal came when PremjiInvest put $44 million in Manipal Universal Learning Pvt Ltd.

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