Exclusive: Education company Adtalem puts Brazil assets on the block

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - For-profit school chain Adtalem Global Education Inc ATGE.N has put its assets in Brazil up for sale, including flagship university Ibmec, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Adtalem’s Brazilian assets are likely to fetch at least 2 billion reais ($505 million), two of the sources said. Adtalem Global Education has a 97.9% stake in Adtalem Brazil.

The company runs 15 schools in Brazil under three brands, with nearly 82,000 students: Wyden Educational, Ibmec and Damasio.

The education company’s Brazilian operation posted revenue of $50 million in the first quarter, down 15.5% from a year before, mainly due to a decrease in value of the Brazilian currency. Still, new student enrollment increased 17.7%, mainly driven by demand for online courses and business-oriented school Ibmec.

In its first-quarter results, Adtalem said in a filing that the Brazilian economy “presented challenges for enrollment growth and created pricing pressures in the education sector.” It offered discounts for students to compensate for delays and cuts in a federal student loan fund known as Fies.

Adtalem is in talks with Morgan Stanley to hire its investment banking unit as an adviser on the deal, the sources added. Neither Adtalem nor Morgan Stanley replied immediately to requests for comment.

Some of the sources said Adtalem would attract more interest from buyers if it broke up its Brazilian operations, as the three businesses are very different. But two of the people said Adtalem intends to sell its Brazilian units in a single block.

The company has been revising its global strategy, currently focused on three areas: medical and healthcare, professional education and technology and business.

In December, Adtalem sold U.S. schools DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management and Carrington College, while keeping medical and healthcare schools it owns in the United States.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl and Tatiana Bautzer; editing by Jonathan Oatis