KKR invests in Vietnam-based education platform EQuest

Global private equity powerhouse KKR has invested in Vietnamese education services provider EQuest Education Group to fuel the latter’s expansion plans, according to a statement.

The statement confirms DealStreetAsia’s earlier report on EQuest’s fundraising plans.

The financial terms of the investment remain undisclosed. However, DealStreetAsia has learnt that the private equity major is said to have invested up to $100 million in the Vietnamese firm. The deal is also likely to have paved the way for a partial exit for Singapore-based TAEL Partners, which invested in EQuest in 2018.

In conjunction with KKR’s financing, Annabelle Vultee, former China COO of global education group EF Education First, has joined EQuest’s board of directors.

EQuest operates K-12 bilingual schools, tertiary and vocational institutions, English enrichment courses, and digital learning solutions. Its K-12 portfolio serves more than 9,000 students across eight campuses. EQuest has more than 110,000 students enrolled across its segments each year.

EQuest’s growth has been fueled by a buy-and-build model. To date, it has invested in and acquired 18 schools and education units.

KKR’s investment in EQuest is through its Global Impact Fund, which has invested in Asian businesses such as Barghest Building Performance, a Singapore-based provider of energy-saving solutions for commercial and industrial buildings; India’s environment management services provider Ramky Enviro Engineers; Australia-based environmental markets project developer GreenCollar; and Indian microlender Five-Star Business Finance.

EQuest’s business directly contributes towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education) by providing accessible, affordable and high-quality education to Vietnam’s emerging middle-class population, according to the statement.

“Access to high-quality education and intensive English-language training is crucial for Vietnamese students to achieve their full potential,” said EQuest co-founder and CEO Nguyen Quoc Toan.

“Investing in Vietnam and supporting the growth of the country’s businesses and industries is a key part of KKR’s strategy in Asia. As Vietnam continues to elevate on the world’s economic stage, access to affordable, high-quality education solutions plays an important role in meeting the nation’s objectives,” added Ashish Shastry, co-head of Asia Private Equity and head of Southeast Asia at KKR.

KKR has been investing in Vietnam through its Asian Fund series. It has led real estate developer Vinhomes’s $650-million round and animal feed producer Masan MEATLife (formerly known as Masan Nutri-Science) $359-million financing.

The PE firm reported $367 billion of assets under management as of March 31, 2021.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.