Bala V Balachandran, founder & dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, is in talks with Tata Foundation and Pirojsha Godrej Foundation to sell nearly 51 per cent stake in his institute.
“I have 90 per cent stake in my institute. I have decided to give the ownership to somebody who can give me some money to expand. I may offload as much as 51 per cent. The valuation of the institute would be around Rs 220 crore,” Balachandran told Business Standard on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.
Great Lakes was formed in 2002 as a Section-25 company. Section-25 companies are those formed for the purpose of promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity or any other deemed “useful object” and whose profits are used solely to further its stated objectives. Great Lakes has, among others, Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata and Godrej & Boyce Chairman & Managing Director Jamshyd Godrej on its business advisory council.
Balachandran, who is also professor of accounting and information management at the Kellogg School of Management in the US, said some business houses approached him for the stake, but he was not keen on selling it to them.
“I wish to go pan-India and provide affordable education. I want somebody who shares my vision, which Tata Foundation and Pirojsha Godrej Foundation do. I do not want profit-oriented players to be associated with my ventures,” added Balachandran.
Today, Tata trusts control 65.8 per cent of the shares in Tata Sons, the holding Tata company. Over 75 per cent of the trust's funds come from dividends on the shares it owns in Tata Sons.
Pirojsha Godrej Foundation has taken up rural development and healthcare, promotes Godrej Memorial Hospital and a unique community development programme called Svayam.
Balachandran will also, for the first time in the history of B-schools in India, be taking over the Mumbai Business School (MBS) and converting it into the Great Lakes, Mumbai, campus.
“Mumbai Business School was created as a for-profit organisation, so I was not keenly involved. Now, I have taken it over as a not-for-profit institute. The change of ownership is in approval process. The school could be re-named Great Lakes, Mumbai campus,” he added.
A Mahendran, managing director, Godrej Consumer Products, was actively involved in setting up MBS. Great Lakes also plans to open campuses in Gurgaon and Bhubaneswar. While it has bought some land in Gurgaon, the Orissa government has leased it 100 acres of land for 99 years.
The Gurgaon campus will require around 50 crore to set up and the Orissa campus would be set up at a cost of Rs 100 crore.