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Private schools operator picks banks for $5bn London IPO

One of world's largest private school operators has sel..

One of world's largest private school operators has selected a raft of heavy-hitting investment banks as it prepares for $5bn (£3.7bn) London listing next year, according to reports.

The owners of GEMS Education have picked JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to lead the London initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reported.

Headquartered in Dubai, GEMS is owned by local firm Fajr Capital, Bahraini state investment fund Mumtalakat and US private equity giant Blackstone.

Read more: Blackstone beats expectations as assets hit record levels

GEMs, which owns five schools in Britain including the Hampshire School Chelsea and Didcot Primary Academy, said it had secured a $1.25bn loan to refinance existing borrowings and support growth.

Credit Suisse did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters. The other investment banks declined to comment.

GEMS operates across six regions globally with a particularly strong presence in the Middle East. In Europe, the firm runs schools in the UK, France and Switzerland.

The company – originally called Global Education Management Systems – traces its roots back to 1959 when Indian-born teachers KS and Mariama Varkey started a tutoring business in Dubai.

It expanded rapidly in the 1960s, boosted by the heightened demand for English-speaking schools to support the education of foreign workers.

Read more: Private schools have become preserve of "oligarchs" as fees increase

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