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New Oriental CEO Expresses a Wish to Take the Company Private Amid Short Attacks

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Chinese education services company New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) is once again in the news. The company’s founder and chief executive officer Michael Yu told Chinese media that he now regrets taking New Oriental Education public. Last month, Doug Young of South China Morning Post said that the U.S. listed Chinese firm could soon go private.

New Oriental Education logo

Chinese media reports suggest that Michael Yu might have made similar comments in the past. But this time his remarks have been taken more seriously amid reports that New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) is in talks with private equity firms to take itself private.

American Investors Skeptical of Chinese Firms

American investors have grown skeptical of Chinese companies after a number of accounting scandals. New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) received a lukewarm response on the Wall Street despite posting solid quarterly results. Investor skepticism has caused many U.S. listed Chinese firms to consider privatization bids. Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ:CG) has already taken Focus Media Holding Limited (NASDAQ:FMCN) private for $3.6 billion. Other companies like Simcere Pharmaceutical Group (NYSE:SCR), Pactera Technology Intl Ltd (NASDAQ:PACT) and Camelot Information Systems Inc (NYSE:CIS) are also working on privatization plans. The stocks of all these companies have crumbled over the past two years.

New Oriental – A Target of Short Sellers

New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) has repeatedly been attacked by analysts and short sellers. Some of them have called it a fraud. The stock was hit badly last summer after the company revealed that U.S. securities regulators are investigating it for unspecified accounting malpractices. That was followed by the short seller Muddy Waters attacking the company. That caused the stock to plummet from a September 16, 2011 high of $32.46 to $11.33 on August 3, 2012.

Investor skepticism towards Chinese firms continues to haunt Michael Yu. Maybe that’s why he regrets taking the company public. South China Morning Post says that New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) may launch a privatization bid as soon as the fourth quarter of this year.

New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (ADR) (NYSE:EDU) shares were up 0.27 percent to $21.96 at 3:23 PM EDT.

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