ISP Said in Talks to Buy Vietnam's Canadian International School

(Bloomberg) -- International Schools Partnership Ltd. is in talks to invest in Canadian International School Vietnam, people with knowledge of the matter said, as foreign firms flock to Southeast Asian education deals.

U.K.-based ISP, which is backed by Swiss buyout firm Partners Group Holding AG, is conducting due diligence on the school and may purchase a majority stake for about $150 million including debt, according to one of the people. The parties could sign an agreement as soon as next month, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Southeast Asian school operators have been attracting interest from foreign investors including TPG and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, which are betting that rising incomes will translate into increased education spending. The Canadian International School Vietnam, which operates out of two locations in Ho Chi Minh City, accepts students from kindergarten to pre-university levels, according to its website.

Last year, EQT Partners bought a stake in English teaching school ILA Vietnam, while TPG agreed to invest in Vietnam Australia International School. Malaysia’s APIIT Education Group was sold to KV Asia Capital Pte and management this year.

Acquisition Drive

ISP hasn’t reached a final agreement, and there’s no certainty the talks will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Representatives for Canadian International School Vietnam and Partners Group declined to comment. ISP said in a statement the company has grown rapidly through acquisitions over the past few years and is continually in dialogue with school owners in many different parts of the world. It declined to comment on specific deals.

Partners Group’s London-listed investment vehicle, Princess Private Equity Holding Ltd., formed ISP’s parent company in 2013 as part of a strategy to build an international network of private schools. ISP owns 29 schools across eight countries, according to its Monday statement.

In January this year, ISP bought Tenby Education Group, which owns seven schools in Malaysia, from state-backed private equity firm Ekuiti Nasional Bhd.

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