Dubai’s Varkey takes 12.5% stake in embattled Everonn

Acquisition sees education group’s share price rise 5% in trading
Sunny Varkey shown with Bill Clinton at the launch of the Varkey GEMS Foundation
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Wed 21 Sep 2011 04:09 PM

Sunny
Varkey, the founder of Dubai-based GEMS Education, has acquired a 12.5 percent
stake in India’s Everonn Education, the firm announced.

Everonn’s
share price on Tuesday jumped five percent to 367.2 rupees after the board
approved the $28.7m sale to the Varkey Group.

Shares
of the learning solutions provider have declined by over 40 percent since news
of the arrest of its co-founder and managing P. Kishore over an alleged bribery
and tax evasion case in August. News of the arrest prompted the resignation of
its chairman, Dr Jamshed J. Irani.

Fitch
Ratings on August 31 stopped its rating of Everonn due to lack of adequate
information. “The ratings have been migrated to the "Non-Monitored"
category due to lack of adequate information, and Fitch will no longer provide ratings
or analytical coverage of EEL,” Fitch said in a statement.

Varkey
founded GEMS Education, part of the Varkey Group, in 1980 and is now the
largest private schools operator for students from kindergarten to grade 12.
The group last year said it planned to expand its operations across India to
reach 100 schools.

“India
is one of the key destinations, where we already lead several educational
initiatives including 17 schools in major cities. We plan to own or manage over
100 schools in India over the next few years,” Varkey said in a statement.

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