Estacio Says Zaher Family Seeks Majority Stake Amid Bidding War

Estacio Participacoes SA, the Brazilian for-profit education company that’s the target of a bidding war, said one of its largest shareholders is considering expanding its stake to gain majority control.

The Zaher family, which owns 14.1 percent of Estacio, may seek to buy about 36 percent of the company, according to a filing Monday. The Zahers haven’t determined an offer price and would seek no more than 75 percent of the company so it would remain publicly traded, Estacio said.

The move being contemplated by the Zahers means the monthlong frenzy over Estacio is unlikely to be resolved soon. Brazil’s biggest education company, Kroton Educacional SA, is competing with smaller rival Ser Educacional SA to acquire the Rio de Janeiro-based company. As Estacio began talking to both parties, its chief executive officer, Rogerio Melzi, abruptly departed, replaced by board member Chaim Zaher.

The Zahers aren’t pleased with either bid and have also expressed a desire for Estacio to make an acquisition of its own, Folha newspaper reported Sunday, without saying where it got the information.

Estacio fell less than 1 percent to 16.41 reais at 10:39 a.m. in Sao Paulo.

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