Bombay High Court quashes case against Baring Asia

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court quashed a case filed by the Global Indian Schools against Baring Private Equity Asia and several of its employees after the school agreed to pay $34 million to Baring as part of an off-court settlement that would help calm the nerves of overseas investors.

Global had filed the first information report (FIR) in March 2015 alleging that Baring Private Equity Asia, Minerva Education Holding, and several other officials of Baring had conspired to prevent Global from executing a series of profitable acquisitions with the intent of taking control of the company.

“Global Indian Schools Holdings, Global Schools Foundation and K12 Eduschools Holdings shall jointly and separately be liable to pay the sum of $ 34 million to Minerva within 45 days from 31 January 2017, such payment being strictly without any admission as to liability” said the court order.

In 2011, Baring’s investment arm Minerva and Global Indian Schools had entered into agreements under which the PE fund would have the right to invest up to $ 100 million in 4 tranches of $ 25 million each in convertible notes issued by Global.

The agreements gave Baring certain rights, including the right to veto acquisitions in excess of $ 1 million that Global planned. Shortly after Baring made the first investment of $ 25 million, disagreements arose on certain acquisitions and that led to Global taking Baring to arbitration proceedings in which the PE fund prevailed.

The FIR was filed during the arbitration process. The High Court in its order quashing the FIR noted that criminal law had been set in motion in a dispute that has a predominantly civil flavour and that this was a fit case to impose costs on Global.

When contacted, a Baring spokesman said “We are pleased that the Bombay High Court has quashed the FIR filed against Baring Private Equity Asia and its employees. We are unable to comment further as we are under confidentiality obligations.”

According to the agreement, both parties agreed to waive, forego and release any and all claims, causes of action, counterclaims, damages, demands, rights, remedies and/or reliefs, both known and unknown, in law or equity or otherwise, of any kind whatsoever against each other, said sources.