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Hong Kong-based school operator Nord Anglia eyes IPO, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Nord Anglia Education, a Hong Kong-based school operator, has hired banks for an initial public offering that could come next year, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Nord Anglia, owned by Baring Private Equity, has hired Credit Suisse AG (CSGN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to lead the float, which could raise upwards of $200 million, the sources said.

Nord Anglia and Goldman Sachs could not be reached for comment. Richard Barton, a spokesman for Baring, declined to comment, as did Credit Suisse and JPMorgan.

Education is a hot ticket item in Asia, with expanding middle classes in the region’s emerging economies increasingly spending their disposable income on private education. That attracts private equity investors like Baring, one of Asia’s biggest homegrown private equity firms with more than $5 billion in committed capital.

Nord Anglia, acquired by Baring in August 2008 for $360 million, is a specialist in international education and one of the world’s biggest private education providers.
Baring this year expanded Nord Anglia into the United States with its $237 million acquisition of rival WCL Group in May.

Nord Anglia runs 27 schools in Southeast Asia, China, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Founded in 1972 by former teacher Kevin McNeany, schools are targeted at expatriates and local wealthy families.