The firms have competition from UK media group Pearson, which has already held preliminary discussions about a deal, according to a report by the Times of India newspaper.
It said Manipal is attempting to raise debt and equity to buy back stakes owned by existing investors IDFC and Capital International, a deal which would value the company at more than $850m.
Volatile market conditions recently forced the company to scrap its planned IPO, in which it planned to raise around $150m.
Manipal runs university campuses across the world including the American University of Antigua, Manipal University Dubia and the Melaka Medical College in Malaysia.
It also performs business skills training and examinations, in addition to running online learning programmes.
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