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Intueri Education share price soars: Is the company a takeover target?

Intueri Education Group Ltd (ASX: IQE) saw its share price rocket up 24.7% today to trade at 53 cents, despite no news from the company.

But what may have spurred the price rise was speculation in The Australian that private equity (PE) firm Anchorage Capital Partners is said to be taking a closer look at the vocational education group.

Anchorage is backed by former Macquarie Group head honcho Allan Moss and the investment bank’s former director Phil Cave.

The Australian’s report doesn’t appear all that confident there’s a deal in the works, with the paper also reporting that sources close to Intueri say the company has not engaged with Anchorage on any other private equity firm about a potential acquisition.

Australia’s vocational education sector is in tatters, with a number of education providers under investigation. Vocation Ltd (ASX: VET) fell into administration in late November, after the company was unable to raise enough capital to keep the company afloat.

Another provider, Australian Careers Network Ltd (ASX: ACO) shares are also suspended while the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training have commenced legal action against two of the company’s subsidiaries.

Intueri itself is under investigation after New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) instituted a number of reviews, contributing to the company’s share price slide from above $2 earlier this year to as low as 27 cents in November.

Foolish takeaway

It’s not surprising that companies in the vocational education sector are being looked at. Not all companies are facing the same situation as Vocation or Australian Careers Network. But whether this is a ‘real’ bid or just speculation, is too hard to tell just yet, and there’s no guarantee that a binding bid will eventuate, even if PE firms are circling.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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