,SAO PAULO - Brazilian education group Grupo SEB plans to spin off its premium K-12 schools business and list it on Nasdaq, controlling shareholder and chief executive Chaim Zaher told Reuters. Zaher is a long time investor in Brazilian for-profit education and owns stakes in Yduqs Participacoes, formerly known as Estacio, and Cogna Educacao. In recent years, Zaher has changed course and invested in developing K-12 schools, mainly private bilingual ones. Zaher expects the business to be valued at $500 million, based on its annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of around $50 million. He plans to list around 30% of the shares in a primary offering on the U.S. exchange, and will use the proceeds to expand the business. Among the operations Zaher said he plans to include in the new listed company is Maple Bear, a Canadian school brand that has franchisees in Latin America, Asia and Europe. SEB owns 70% of Maple Bear, which oversees a network of 532 franchised private schools in 30 countries. Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maple Bear has grown and added 60 franchises to its network last year. Other private school brands which will be included in the spin-off are Sphere International, Luminova and High Five, and the company will also control the AZ learning systems business. Zaher said in a video interview that he plans the listing for early 2022 and has yet to hire financial advisors. Maple Bear CEO Arno Krug Junior said revenue from its schools reached $320 million last year, but most of them are owned by franchisees. Revenue of the soon-to-be combined company, which has yet to be named, is being audited. ($1 = 5.5625 reais) REUTERS
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