SINGAPORE: Private education institution PSB Academy has been acquired by specialist asset management firm Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), with its shareholding transferred from Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), PSB announced on Tuesday (Jan 23).
According to PSB, the investment will "bolster the Academy’s momentum of catering to the rising demands of Asia's under-served higher education need". Last year, the academy opened satellite campuses in Myanmar and Indonesia, after opening a S$15 million campus in Marina Square.
In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, its CEO Derrick Chang said that students and staff members would not be affected by the acquisition: "The transaction is at the ownership level, so it's business as usual,” he said.
The deal was inked on Jan 19, after about half a year of searching for potential investors, with the academy receiving “competitive bids”, said Mr Chang.
"PSB has enjoyed remarkable growth under Barings’ ownership over the last five years," Mr Chang said.
"And the current shareholder felt that this is an appropriate time, with an end to the investment cycle of approximately five to seven years, and they decided to seek new owners for PSB to bring PSB to greater heights.”
NEW CAMPUS FOCUSING ON STEM
PSB also announced that it will be launching a new campus by the first half of this year pending regulatory approval.
The campus, which will have a capacity of up to 5,000 students, will provide upgraded laboratories and facilities for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.
Classes held at its second campus at Tiong Bahru, which has a capacity of up to 4,000 students, will be shifted to the new campus once it's ready.
“Education is a focus industry sector for ICG and PSB represents the second education related investment for ICG in the Asia Pacific region,” said Mr Jin Tan, ICG Managing Director and Head of Southeast Asia.
"PSB will serve as an attractive platform for additional acquisitions in education in collaboration with the PSB management team who have demonstrated a strong track record of business growth.
"We look forward to building on our management partnership investment model in taking PSB to the next stage of development.”
As of January 2018, ICG manages US$33 billion of assets in third party funds and proprietary capital. The London-listed firm takes over the reigns from Baring Private Equity, which has a total committed capital of over US$11 billion.
The private alternative investment firm first bought over the tertiary education business in 2011 from testing and certification firm TUV SUD in 2006.
Once known as Singapore’s Productivity and Standards Board, PSB was first set up in 1964 as a productivity unit in the Economic Development Board, with the aim of upgrading the knowledge and skills of the workforce.
It was later corporatised in 2001 and privatised in 2006. The academy currently serves over 12,000 local and international students in Singapore.