Private equity firms Metistone Equity Partners and NP Investments (NPI) have teamed up to make a joint bid for online platform MegaStudy Edu as they continue to build their education services portfolios.
The two companies are seeking a 34 percent stake worth about 300 billion won ($241 million) in MegaStudy Edu, which was spun off from MegaStudy Co., Ltd. in 2015, sources said on Wednesday (May 27). The stake will come from existing MegaStudy shareholders, including chairman Son Joo-eun and chief executive Son Seong-eun, as well as a new shares issue. Metistone and NP Investments plan to launch a 200 billion won co-investment fund to partly finance the acquisition, with the remaining 100 billion won coming from loans.
Metistone is a buyout-focused firm founded by President Park Gyu-hyun in October 2014. It has since managed eight project funds, including a notable investment in Singaporean ecommerce unicorn Qoo10.
Park was himself an entrepreneur who founded commerce software provider E-Net in 1996 before listing the company on the Kosdaq market in 2000. He also has deep experience in overseas markets and a track record of several successful pre-IPO investments in Chinese startups currently traded on Nasdaq. Park is said to be preparing to list Qoo10 on Nasdaq.
Another notable Medistone portfolio company has been electronic payment platform Settlebank, which generated an internal rate of return of nearly 55 percent for the firm when it exited. Medistone’s aggregate assets under management are approximately 127 billion won.
NPI is a relatively young private equity fund founded by Samuel Hwang in December 2018. Hwang was head of WeWork Labs Korea and a director of the Hong Kong MIT Innovation Node. He also served on the MIT Sandbox Funding Board.
NPI targets growth companies that are seeking to expand into overseas markets. It has two active funds with 12 portfolio companies, including Indian grocery startup NinjaCart. Among its investments in Korea are Riiid, which operates Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) content app Santa, as well as preschool content provider Smart Study, which operates children’s educational brand Pinkfong. (Reporting by Se-hun Jo)