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Carlyle Buys Stake in Turkish School Operator Bahcesehir

Carlyle Group, a U.S. private-equity firm, said it bought 48 percent of Bahcesehir Kolejleri, a Turkish school operator, expanding its investment in that country.

Bahcesehir, based in Istanbul, has 65 schools and 12,000 students, Walid Musallam, the buyout firm’s M&A director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in an e-mailed statement today. No price was disclosed.

Turkey’s growing $735 billion economy has attracted private-equity investment in recent years. Gross domestic product grew 8.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011, the world’s fastest behind China, as credit growth spurred consumer demand. Washington-based Carlyle paid $150 million for a 40 percent stake in Istanbul-based hospital group Medical Park in 2009.

“We want to create a stronger education group through this first foreign investment in Turkish education,” Enver Yucel, chairman of Bahcesehir Kolejleri, said in the statement.

Carlyle, which had $148 billion in assets under management at the end of September through 89 funds that it manages, holds investments in Apollo Group Inc., a Phoenix-based education company, and HaoYue Education Group of China, according to the statement.

Moonlight Capital, a BC Partners-led group, bought Migros Ticaret for $3.25 billion in 2008 in Turkey’s biggest-ever private-equity investment. KKR & Co., a U.S. buyout firm, and Abraaj Capital Ltd, the Middle East’s biggest private-equity firm, have also invested in Turkey.

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