HPEF Capital Said to Consider Sale of Vietnam Education Business

  • ILA Vietnam shareholders seek about $150 million from sale
  • First-round offers for ILA are due by the end of the year

HPEF Capital Partners Ltd., the Asian buyout firm spun out of HSBC Holdings Plc, is considering a sale of its controlling stake in a Vietnamese education company, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

HPEF Capital, which owns about 60 percent of ILA Vietnam, and the other shareholders of the English-language training business have been gauging interest from potential buyers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. ILA Vietnam shareholders are seeking about $150 million from any sale, which may attract both private equity firms and education companies, one of the people said. 

Overseas buyers have been attracted by a rising middle class in Vietnam, where 60 percent of the population is under 35. The government is aiming for growth of 6.7 percent in 2017 and has predicted the economy will probably expand as much as 6.5 percent this year. Vietnamese companies have been involved in $4.6 billion of deals this year, up from $2.1 billion during the same period in 2015, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

First-round bids are due by year-end, the people said. An official at HPEF Capital, which changed its name from Headland Capital Partners Ltd. earlier this year, declined to comment.

ILA has 31 centers in six cities across Vietnam, according to its website. It employs more than 400 foreign teachers and has English language programs for students ranging from three-year-old children to adults who want to communicate in a business environment.

Advent International Corp. bought a minority stake in Singapore tutoring chain The Learning Lab for $235 million in 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg show. CVC Capital Partners Ltd. sold Education International Corp., which advises students on study abroad opportunities, this year to a group led by Chinese private equity firm NLD Investment LLP.

— With assistance by Cathy Chan

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