Brazil's Ser Educacional seeks to raise up to $326 million in IPO

SAO PAULO Tue Oct 1, 2013 8:44am EDT

SAO PAULO Oct 1 (Reuters) - Brazilian education company Grupo Ser Educacional SA plans to raise up to 723.3 million reais ($326 million) in an initial public offering to help fund expansion and gain market share from its fast-growing rivals.

Ser Educacional will sell as many as 15,389,520 shares in a primary offering. Additionally, the company and its shareholders will sell up to 15,389,520 shares in a secondary offering, it said in a prospectus published in newspaper Valor Economico on Tuesday.

The company set the price for the shares at between 19.50 reais and 23.50 reais.

Brazil's $11 billion-a-year education industry has grown at double-digit rates in recent years as a tight job market demands a skilled labor force with better technical knowledge, stronger analytical abilities and proficiency in foreign languages.

Initial public offerings have become a feasible fundraising option for college operators, language schools and learning systems providers, just as mergers and acquisitions activity has heated up over the past two years.

Anima Educação SA, which owns three universities located in the cities of Belo Horizonte and Santos in southeastern Brazil, is also considering an initial public offering to expand and strengthen its capital position, sources told Reuters in August.

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