Singapore tycoon Oei Hong Leong ups stake in Raffles Education to 14% for $1.2m

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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.

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.