(Bloomberg) -- Nord Anglia’s owners have selected banks to advise them on a potential exit from their investment in the international school operator, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

The company’s major shareholders — EQT AB and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board — plan to work with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley as they explore strategic options including a sale or listing, according to the people. EQT and CPPIB are considering seeking a valuation of around $15 billion for Nord Anglia, the people said.

EQT and CPPIB may kick off a process as soon as the coming months and other banks could still be added, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. They have been considering New York as a potential listing venue, the people said. 

Nord Anglia’s owners could end up selling a major stake in the business to a new investor while holding on to part of their interest, some of the people said. There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, and details of the potential deal could change. Representatives for CPPIB, Goldman, EQT, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Nord Anglia declined to comment. 

Private equity firms are ramping up sales of portfolio companies to return capital to investors amid a tough exit environment, with both mergers and acquisitions as well as initial public offerings proving tricky in a volatile market.

Nord Anglia, founded in 1972, operates more than 80 international schools including boarding schools across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, according to its website. It offers education from kindergarten to the end of secondary school.

Baring Private Equity Asia, which later became part of EQT, first invested in Nord Anglia in 2008. Nine years later, it teamed up with CPPIB to take the firm private in a $4.3 billion deal.

EQT is also considering selling Pioneer Corp. and seeking a valuation of about $1.5 billion for the iconic Japanese electronics maker, Bloomberg News reported in December.

--With assistance from Vinicy Chan, Cathy Chan, Dinesh Nair and Manuel Baigorri.

(Updates with bank selection in first two paragraphs.)

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