KKR Bets on China Professional Education With Tarena Investment

KKR & Co. will invest $70 million in Chinese professional educational services company Tarena International Inc. through the purchase of shares from pre-IPO holders, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Shaoyun Han, Tarena’s founder, chief executive officer and chairman, will also buy $20.5 million of shares in private transactions, according to a statement by Tarena on Monday. Han will fund the purchase by issuing a convertible bond to KKR. Tarena, which went public in April 2014, offers in-person and online classes in information technology, sales, marketing and accounting.

The 13 percent stake in Tarena is an expansion of the private equity firm’s bet on the education sector. In 2013, KKR invested in Cognita Schools, a U.K.-based education group. The firm is also a backer of Laureate Education Inc., the largest for-profit college network in the world.

China’s professional education sector has grown 11 percent annually over the past four years, reaching $12 billion in 2014, according to data firm IDC.

KKR’s investment in Tarena is through its China Growth Fund.

“KKR’s rich experience in the education sector can help Tarena in its efforts to further strengthen its market leadership and achieve its vision of becoming the world’s leading and most innovative professional education service provider,” Han said in the statement.

Tarena fells 2.4 percent to $13.25 at 11:34 a.m. in New York. The stock has returned 17 percent in the past 12 months.

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