Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group has announced the sale of an up to $150m stake in its educational portfolio to UK-based schools group Inspired.
The company said Inspired would acquire part of its $300m-valued Gulf Cooperation Council education portfolio.
Inspired operates schools in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Australia. The deal marks the company’s entry into the Middle East region.
Founder and chairman Nadim Nsouli said the company would initially focus on making the British School of Bahrain “the leading school in the GCC”.
It will also evaluate other school acquisitions in the region with GFH, he added.
“Their network and experience will add significant value to the schools including offering both students and teachers opportunities to take part in exchange programmes and to benefit from the latest programmes to enhance the level of education and create a unique learning environment in the region,” said GFH CEO Hisham Al Rayes
The acquisition comes amid rising interest in the GCC education market as the student population increases and key markets like Saudi Arabia open up to full foreign ownership.
Earlier on Monday Reuters reported that Dubai-based GEMS Education had chosen JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lead a listing in London next year expected to value the company at up to $5bn.
Dubai alone is expected to see 120 new schools openings over the next decade.