March 21, 2019 / 6:45 AM / 8 months ago

Australia's Navitas agrees to $1.49 billion takeover offer from consortium

(Reuters) - Australian adult education provider Navitas Ltd on Thursday said its board would recommend shareholders accept a A$2.09 billion ($1.49 billion) takeover offer by a consortium comprising its founder and a private equity firm.

“Navitas directors unanimously recommend Navitas shareholders vote in favor of the scheme, in the absence of a superior proposal,” the company said in a statement.

Navitas in January had backed the sweetened buyout offer from the consortium, after rejecting its two earlier bids last year.

The $5.825 per share cash offer, to be voted on in June, represents a 3.6 percent premium to Navitas shares’ previous closing price.

Navitas, which provides English courses for foreign students in Australia, North America and Britain, has become increasingly vulnerable to tougher U.S. immigration policies, visa rules and currency movement.

In February, the Perth-based firm had reported a 14 percent fall in its first-half net profit, weighed down by reduced enrolments in the United States, the world’s largest education market and the company’s third-biggest revenue source.

Navitas also had reiterated its forecast for a “medium-term” downturn in U.S. enrolments as hard-line immigration policies curbed foreign student admissions.

Shares of Navitas have risen more than 11 percent this year.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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