SAO PAULO, May 12 (Reuters) - A leading shareholder in Brazil's for-profit college operator Estacio Participações SA , the Zaher family, has reduced its stake from 14 percent to 9.7 percent, the company said in a securities filing on Friday.
Chaim Zaher, former chairman and chief executive of Estacio said he and his family sold 4 percent of the company for around 200 million reais ($64 million) to fund acquisitions by his private company, Grupo SEB do Brasil.
Zaher, who started in business as a door-to-door salesman only to become one of Brazil's most prominent education entrepreneurs, told Reuters in a telephone interview he is focusing on new investments in private schools. He has already said his Grupo SEB may consider an initial public offering.
Oppenheimer Funds is Estacio's largest shareholder, with a 17 percent stake
Estácio accepted last year a takeover bid by larger rival Kroton Educacional SA, but the deal was criticized in February in preliminary findings by Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade.
During the negotiations for the merger, Zaher initially opposed it and demanded higher swap ratios between Kroton and Estacio shares.
Estacio's board in March received leaked emails from Chief Executive Pedro Thompson suggesting he could be working against the merger. Estacio hired external investigators who found no evidence of Thompson trying to boycott the takeover. ($1 = 3.12 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer, editing by G Crosse)