Options that GEMS Education are looking at include the sale of an equity stake or a possible IPO in 2023. The UAE’s second largest school group Taaleem announced last week that it was seeking an IPO this month.
GEMS Education is the largest private school operator in the UAE and Qatar, with 44 schools in total, and operates across a wide variety of curricula and fee price points.
“We have an agreement with CVC, and we are now working to deliver to them their exit which was always planned for. That’s what this is about. We are fortunate in that there have been several suitors,” Varkey said, adding that wealth fund ADQ and real estate developer Aldar “were among many groups across the world showing interest.”
Varkey said he had no current plans to relinquish a majority stake in the business but would look at all the options:
“Education has always been a long-term passion since I took over the company in 1980. This is in my blood. GEMS Education and the Varkey name go hand in hand. Parents trust us, they trust the name, and we have no plans to change our line of business. But we are open to talks as we enter this new phase and see what the options are.”