Singapore billionaire Oei Hong Leong has spent about $1.2 million to raise his stake in listed private education provider Raffles Education to 14% from 13.5%, about eight months after he sued the company, according to a disclosure.
The filing, first reported by Bloomberg, showed that Oei purchased about 6.4 million shares to raise his stake to 14% of the company’s voting shares. He is currently the second-biggest shareholder of the education provider.
The acquisition comes after Oei sued Raffles Education Corp on September 30 over its plan to raise its stake in a Chinese property firm. Days later he dropped the suit and the shareholders of Raffles Education approved the proposed acquisition, with 78.6% voting in favour and 21.4% against.
In 2017 and 2020, Oei and his company Oei Hong Leong Art Museum failed in attempts to oust Raffles Education’s chairman and founder Chew Hua Seng, who has a total direct and deemed interest of around 32% in the education provider.
Raffles Education started in Singapore in 1990 by establishing its first college in the city-state. It has since then grown to provide a full spectrum of education services through a vast network of 18 colleges and universities across 10 countries in Asia Pacific and Europe — Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, and China.
On its website, the company said it more than 18,784 students enrolled in its programmes benefit from a quality education that provides graduates with a well-rounded hands-on experience that is relevant to the industry.
The group through its Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary, Oriental University City, also leases education facilities to 12 vocational and technical colleges offering a wide variety of vocational and technical courses catering to a student population of 16,000.
Oei Hong Leong, on the other hand, is ranked 1,750 in Forbes’ billionaires list, with a net worth of $1.9 billion as of May 2. He is the son of the late Indonesian billionaire Aka Tjipta Widjaja. According to Forbes, the bulk of the tycoon’s wealth is derived from a corporate bond portfolio and real estate assets.
In 2019, Oei won a long-running court battle against Concord Pacific Acquisition Inc, part of Concord Pacific Group, which is one of Canada’s largest property developers. The firm, led by CEO and President Terry Hui, accused Oei and his associated company of breaching an agreement pertaining to the development of the site and acting in bad faith.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia Justice Peter Voith, however, sided with Oei, dismissing Concord’s claim in its entirety.