Education service provider MiraeN Co Ltd is attracting close attention in South Korea’s subdued mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market after arranging a series of deals in the past month, despite the generally weak business investment climate. 

The company is a strong candidate to acquire Anseong Q, an 18-hole golf course in Gyeonggi Province, industry sources said on Wednesday (September 23). MiraeN will participate as a limited partner in a deal led by IGen Investments and Rhinos Asset Management, but there is still a possibility that it could take total control of the business.

Bucking the trend in the country’s M&A markets, which have been badly affected as the Covid-19 pandemic dampens  investment sentiment, MiraeN has been actively investing in the sector and eyes it as a potential new engine for growth.

A consortium led by MiraeN completed the acquisition of the country’s largest toymaker, Young Toys, from PAG for 148 billion won ($126 million) on September 10, one year after negotiations started. MiraeN will invest 30 billion won in the deal, while its private equity (PE) affiliate NVestor will invest 33 billion won and mid-sized PE firm Corstone Asia 30 billion won.

MiraeN also acquired a 44.1 percent controlling stake in Edupartner after participating in a 3 billion won rights offering by the education service provider. 

MiraeN established NVestor in 2015 so it could get a better understanding of capital markets and is expected to continue with its strategy of making investments jointly with financial investors, as it did in the Young Toys and Anseong Q deals.

The deep-pocketed education service provider recorded an operating profit of 86 billion won in 2019 and had cash equivalents of approximately 100 billion won in the first half of this year. (Reporting by Se-hun Jo)