Ascent Capital exits education services firm People Combine

Ascent Capital, which invested Rs88-90 crore in People Combine in 2012, sold its entire stake in the company around a week ago


Ascent Capital founder and CEO Raja Kumar. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Ascent Capital founder and CEO Raja Kumar. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

New Delhi: Private equity firm Ascent Capital Advisors has exited its investment in Hyderabad-based education services company People Combine by selling its entire stake, said two people familiar with the development.

“The PE firm had invested in the company 4.5 years ago and made an exit from the company by selling their entire stake around a week ago with 2x returns in rupee terms,” one of the two persons said, requesting for anonymity. “It was kind of a promoter buyback,” the person added.

Ascent Capital had invested around Rs88-90 crore in the company in 2012.

When contacted, Ascent Capital founder and CEO Raja Kumar declined to comment.

An emailed query and calls to People Combine remained unanswered.

“The deal comes at a time when many private investments in education sector are stuck. But in the scenario, Ascent Capital was able to pull through and it was one of the sizeable exits in the education sector,” said the second person cited above.

Ascent Capital also owns a significant stake in Bengaluru-based iNurture Education, a higher education services provider. The PE firm invested in the company in 2012.

Some of the portfolio companies of Ascent Capital Advisors, which makes growth capital investments, include Big Basket, RBL Bank, Vizury, Newgen, Maiyas Beverages and Foods Pvt. Ltd, among others.

This is the fourth exit made by Ascent Capital in the past two years. In January 2015, it exited its year-old investment in the third-largest domestic credit ratings agency, Credit Analysis and Research Ltd (CARE), for around $10 million, followed by an exit from Alivira Animal Health in July same year for an undisclosed amount, according to Venture Intelligence.

In September, it exited Citrus Pay through a deal wherein PayU Global, the digital payments provider owned by South Africa’s Naspers Group, agreed to buy Citrus Pay for $130 million in an all-cash deal.

People Combine has various brands, including Oakridge International School, Oi Play School, Westberry School for Tier-IV cities, Vikas Resonance and coaching institute Univariety.

People Combine also runs Classpedia, an online tool for students who wish to practise their lessons outside the regular school hours.

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