Blackstone Said to Be Among Investors to Weigh GEMS Stake Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP and other investors in GEMS Education are weighing the sale of a 25 percent stake in the Dubai-based school operator after putting plans for an initial public offering on hold, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fajr Capital Ltd., Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Co. and the Varkey Group are also considering selling some or all of their holding in the education provider in a deal that could value GEMS at about $4 billion, said the people, asking not to be identified as the talks are private.

The investors are close to hiring Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley to advise on the sale, some of the people said. A formal sale process hasn’t started and the owners may also decide to retain their stake, the people said.

Representatives for Blackstone, GEMS, Mumtalakat, Fajr, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

GEMS delayed its share sale after the local government unexpectedly said it would freeze school fees that impacted the closely-held company’s earnings projections, people with knowledge of the matter said in June. GEMS owns and operates 47 schools and nurseries in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to its website.

The company’s owners in May rebuffed interest from a private equity firm that approached GEMS about buying a stake, opting instead for the share sale, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

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