February 13, 2017 / 5:47 PM / a year ago

Brazil's Grupo Seb agrees to buy Maple Bear's schools for $50 mln

SAO PAULO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Grupo Seb do Brasil said on Monday it had agreed to buy 95 percent of Maple Bear Global Schools Ltd’s operations in Brazil for $50 million, marking the privately-owned education group’s first step towards an international expansion.

The acquisition is expected to boost Grupo Seb’s revenue to 760 million reais ($243.8 million) in 2017, its founder and head, Chaim Zaher, said during an event in São Paulo. Grupo Seb also unveiled plans to invest 400 million reais through 2018.

Canada’s Maple Bear, which has 15,000 students and 85 schools in the South American nation, will retain a 5 percent stake in the schools and operate them jointly with Grupo Seb, Zaher said.

Together, the partners plan to expand to other countries in South America using the Maple Bear brand, he added. Maple Bear has been operating in Brazil for about a decade.

The deal underscores a wave of consolidation in Brazil’s education sector, from primary schools to higher education outfits.

Zaher told journalists that Grupo Seb would study an IPO to finance potential international acquisitions.

“We will consider an IPO only if a big opportunity appears to expand operations at international level,” Zaher said, adding that he had sold 4 percent of his voting stock in higher-education firm Estácio Participações to help fund the deal with the Canadians. ($1 = 3.1183 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Paul Simao)

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