Dubai:– A consortium led by Brookfield Asset Management Ltd. (NYSE: BAM, TSX: BAM), through its Special Investments (“BSI”) and Middle East private equity programs (together “Brookfield”), including Gulf Islamic Investments, Marathon Asset Management, and  the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), has today entered into a binding agreement, subject to certain closing conditions, to invest in GEMS Education (“GEMS” or the “Company”), partnering with the Varkey Group.

Completion of the transaction is expected in Q3 2024 and is conditional on satisfaction of certain conditions by all parties.

GEMS has grown from a single school, following the arrival of the founding family as teachers in Dubai in 1959, to become one of the world's largest providers of private K-12 education, educating 140,000 students. The Company offers various international school curricula across multiple price points, with adjacent services including school transportation and after-school activities.

GEMS has simultaneously secured financing commitments from a consortium of UAE banks to finance the transaction, including funding the repayment of GEMS’ existing financing arrangements. The Company’s existing minority shareholders, including Khazanah Nasional Berhad, will exit as part of this transaction and funds managed by CVC Capital Partners will also substantially exit their stake in the company.

Sunny Varkey, Founder, GEMS, said: “GEMS has experienced significant growth over our 65-year history and has become one of the world’s most respected education companies. As a long-term, operationally focused investor, Brookfield’s partnership with the family and the GEMS community demonstrates the breadth of the business, the quality of the education, and the critical infrastructure that we deliver for the UAE.”

Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS, said: “Providing a truly world-class education is our singular purpose at GEMS Education. Our impact in the world today has never been stronger, and that has been made possible by our exceptional team. We are well positioned for future growth, thanks to a supportive operating environment that is driving record enrolments, underpinned by a strong UAE economy and a growing population. We believe that Brookfield is the right investment partner to help us realise our ambitions as we look to the next phase of growth.”

Jad Ellawn, Managing Partner and Regional Head, Middle East, Brookfield, said: “The investment in GEMS marks a milestone for Brookfield and our private equity business in the Middle East, underscoring our commitment to investing in this high-growth region and the strength of our local partnerships.”

Dev Santani, Managing Director, Brookfield Special Investments, continued: “With its scale, industry leadership and stable, recurring cash flows, the GEMS transaction provides an opportunity to combine our deep local presence, operating expertise and Brookfield’s global ecosystem with the strategic, flexible capital solutions offered though our Special Investments program to support the company’s growth. We look forward to working alongside the Varkey Group and our partners as we embark on GEMS’ next chapter.”

Holders of GEMS MENASA Cayman Ltd (“GMCL”) Senior Secured Notes should note that this statement does not constitute a formal notice of redemption. GMCL will confirm details of the refinancing upon the transaction becoming unconditional but note that any repayment will be effected no earlier than 31 July 2024.

GEMS Education was advised by deNovo Partners, Goldman Sachs.

Varkey Group was advised by Westgrove Partners.


About Brookfield

Brookfield Asset Management Ltd. (NYSE: BAM, TSX: BAM) is a leading global alternative asset manager with over US$925 billion of assets under management across renewable power and transition, infrastructure, private equity, real estate and credit. We invest client capital for the long-term with a focus on real assets and essential service businesses that form the backbone of the global economy. We offer a range of alternative investment products to investors around the world, which include public and private pension plans, endowments and foundations, sovereign wealth funds, financial institutions, insurance companies and private wealth investors. We draw on Brookfield’s heritage as an owner and operator to invest for value and generate strong returns for its clients, across economic cycles.

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Shveta Singh
Brookfield Asset Management

About GEMS Education

GEMS Education is one of the oldest and largest K-12 private education providers in the world and a trusted and highly regarded choice for quality education in the Middle East and North Africa region. As a company founded in the UAE in 1959, it holds an unparalleled track record of providing diverse curricula and educational choices to all socio-economic means.

Having started with a single school run from a private home in Dubai, GEMS remains a family business to this day. Its inspiring Founder, Sunny Varkey, and his son, Dino Varkey, who is Group Chief Executive Officer, are responsible for providing vision, insight, and strategy across the organisation.

Every day, GEMS has the privilege of educating 170,000+ students from over 176 countries through its owned and managed schools globally. And through its growing network, as well as charitable contributions, it is fulfilling the GEMS vision of putting a quality education within the reach of every learner.

Every year, students graduating from GEMS schools progress to the world’s best universities. Over the past five years, GEMS students have been accepted into over 1,050 universities in 53 countries including all eight Ivy League universities in the US and all 24 Russell Group universities and colleges in the UK.

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