SMRT and Creador buy into ailing Masterskill

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KUALA LUMPUR: Controlling shareholder Siva Kumar M Jeyapalan will be hiving off his entire 32% stake in ailing Masterskill Education Group Bhd to subsidiaries of SMRT Holdings Bhd and private equity fund, Creador II LLC.

The acquirers are SMRT’s unit Strategic Ambience Sdn Bhd and Rahpia Ltd, a subsidiary of Creador.

In a joint statement by SMRT and Creador, the two companies said Siva had given an undertaking “committing to accept to any offer which the acquirers may make” for Siva’s stake after due diligence on Masterskill is conducted.

The offer price for the acquisition of Siva’s stake is 60 sen a share. If the deal goes through, Creador and SMRT will make a mandatory takeover offer to acquire all the remaining shares in Masterskill at the same price.

Both Creador and SMRT are linked to prominent fund manager Brahmal Vasudevan. Brahmal is the founder and chief executive officer of Creador.

He also recently emerged as a substantial shareholder of SMRT, holding a 6.18% stake in the company.

SMRT said the acquisition is “in line” with its strategic plans as Masterskill can become an “earnings-generating asset”.

The sale of Siva’s stake in Masterskill should come as no surprise to the market as this is not the first time he has sought to dispose of his stake.

Siva entered into a ‘put and call’ option agreement with businessman Gary How Soong Khong to sell his Masterskill shares at RM1.10 a share in March this year. However, Masterskill later announced that the agreement was terminated in September 2014.

Meanwhile, Siva told The Edge Financial Daily yesterday that the entry of SMRT and Creador into the ailing education provider would “benefit shareholders”.

“I believe they are the right people to bring Masterskill to the next level. SMRT has the experience in running an education business and with Creador on board, Masterskill will have no issues with funding,” he said.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 11, 2014.