UPDATE 2-Brazil's Ser Educacional sweetens Estácio merger offer
(Adds Kroton maintaining offer, changes dateline)
By Juliana Schincariol
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 29 (Reuters) - Brazilian for-profit college operator Ser Educacional SA raised the cash portion of its merger proposal for larger competitor Estácio Participacoes SA on Wednesday, sweetening its bid in the face of an unsolicited rival offer.
The new proposal raises the cash payout to Estácio shareholders by 41 percent to 1 billion reais ($306 million) from 590 million reais, Ser said in a securities filing.
The proposed stakes in the merged company did not change from earlier offers, giving Estácio shareholders 68.7 percent and Ser Educacional shareholders 31.3 percent.
Ser's improved bid for Estácio comes as another offer from rival Kroton Educacional SA expires.
A source with knowledge of the deal said Kroton would maintain its proposal even after Ser sweetened its offer. The same source said Estácio investors would ask for a shareholders meeting to discuss the future of the company.
If the shareholders do not accept Kroton's offer, Kroton will begin a hostile takeover, the source said. Kroton declined to comment.
Coronation Fund Managers Ltd has endorsed Kroton's bid, its co-managers said. The South African investment firm manages 11 percent of Estácio and 4 percent of Kroton for its clients. Continuación...