Inspired Is Said to Near Acquisition of ACG's Schools Unit

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.’s Inspired Schools is close to acquiring part of New Zealand’s biggest private-education provider from Pacific Equity Partners for about $500 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The purchase of ACG Education’s schools division is likely to be announced in the coming days, the people said, declining to be identified as the details are confidential. Talks may yet fall apart and a final accord isn’t guaranteed, they said.

Any transaction would add to the $178 billion of private equity transactions targeting Asia Pacific companies this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. ACG Education runs schools, university programs and vocational colleges in New Zealand, Vietnam and Indonesia, according to its website. Pacific Equity Partners bought the business through a leveraged buyout in September 2015.

A representative for Inspired Schools said it would issue a press statement shortly. Pacific Equity Partners couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside business hours.

ACG Education will split into two parts -- New Education Group and ACG Schools -- before the sale of the latter, one of the people said. New Education Group will operate as New Zealand’s largest private tertiary education provider, the person said.

Nadim Nsouli, a former partner at buyout firm Providence Equity Partners, set up investment firm Educas in 2013 to take a stake in South Africa’s Reddam House group of schools before founding Inspired, according to its website. The group, which has since added schools across the globe to its portfolio, now operates educational centers in Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

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