Baring Private Equity Asia Ltd., which agreed to invest as much as $100 million in Global Indian Schools Holdings Ltd., was accused of conspiring to prevent the educational services provider from making profitable acquisitions in order to seize control.
Baring and its unit Minerva Education Holdings Ltd. vetoed deals in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Vietnam to prevent Global Indian Schools from meeting profit targets, reducing the price they would have had to pay for equity, according to a lawsuit filed in the Singapore High Court.
Baring, which hasn’t filed its defense, is seeking to halt the lawsuit as Global Indian Schools’ claims are being arbitrated as well, according to court papers. Baring’s lawyers Cavinder Bull and Vikram Rajaram declined to comment.
Global Indian Schools, which owns and manages schools in Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, said it inferred the conspiracy from incidents including delays over lease renewals and is seeking unspecified damages. It declined to comment on the dispute in an e-mailed statement.
Baring in July 2011, through Minerva, agreed to invest in Global Indian Schools through four tranches of convertible notes to help its regional expansion. Minerva in August 2011 subscribed to the first $25 million tranche of the notes, according to court papers.
The investment was subject to Global Indian Schools meeting a 2012 profit target of $9.8 million and giving Minerva at least a 15 percent yearly return on each convertible note, according to court papers. Minerva would cut the conversion price if the profit target wasn’t met.
Baring has more than $5 billion of assets under management and has at least 60 investments, according to its website. The company is part of a group which last month agreed to buy Chinese online-gaming developer Giant Interactive Group Inc. for $3 billion and take it private. Baring-backed Nord Anglia Education Inc. (NORD), which operates 27 international schools, raised $350 million in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange last month.
The case is Global Indian Schools Holdings Ltd. v Minerva Education Holdings Ltd. S95/2014. Singapore High Court.
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