Consortium around EMERAM and Gimv to support German digital learning platform sofatutor in the next growth phase

GIMV
Topic: Investment

  • sofatutor is the most comprehensive digital education platform for schoolchildren in the German-speaking countries
  • Number of users has grown during a highly successful 2020 to more than 1 million schoolchildren
  • Additional digital education offerings and integration within in-school activity to be key drivers of future growth

EMERAM Capital Partners, one of the leading investment companies in the German-speaking region with a focus on medium-sized companies, is heading an investor consortium together with the investment company Gimv, amongst others, to lead digital company sofatutor into the next growth phase. The consortium will thus take on from the previous share owners. sofatutor is regarded as one of Germany’s leading digital education platforms for years one to twelve (K-12). Through additional innovative offerings, sofatutor plans to meet the demand for online learning tools and improve access to first-class education. In this way, the strong growth of the past years is to be continued into the future.

Founded in 2008, the company currently has more than one million users. Moreover, sofatutor is used by more than 25 percent of all teachers across Germany and has been introduced in the Federal States of Saxony and Bremen. sofatutor therefore sees itself positioned as the most comprehensive provider for digital learning tools in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, a market with a total of more than 11 million schoolchildren.

The sofatutor product and service portfolio covers a wide range of more than 11,000 videos, as well as exercises and worksheets for 14 different school subjects. Students can access material conveniently via the web-based platform or via sofatutor app and can chat about homework tasks in real-time with qualified teachers.

Dr. Christian Näther, founding partner of EMERAM, says: “High-quality education has an important societal role in any country. We are therefore pleased to support sofatutor in extending its educational offering still further. Sofatutor is already seeing huge demand for its digital learning tools, which has been boosted still further by home-schooling and the pandemic. We would like to continue the success story.” Matthias Obermeyr, Partner at EMERAM, adds: “Thanks to its comprehensive, digital offering, its strong innovation and attractive value proposition, sofatutor already occupies a strong market position. Extending the digital product range and expanding digital learning models offers significant further growth potential.”

Stephan Bayer, CEO of sofatutor and the company’s founder, explains: “With more than one million users and the largest network of teachers integrating sofatutor’s content into their lessons, sofatutor has long been the leading provider of digital learning applications. With the new consortium of investors, we again have a strong group of investors at our side who will accompany and support the company with their expertise in the next growth phase. Innovative digital learning tools will continue to be our DNA into the future. We want to support schools, teachers and schoolchildren not only after school but also by offering digital learning content for school daytime activity.”

Dr. Sven Oleownik, Partner and Head of Germany at European investment company specialized in growth companies, Gimv, comments: “With its investment in sofatutor, Gimv confirms its commitment to investing in future-oriented companies along the fundamental trends of digitalization, sustainability and convenience, and is supporting together with EMERAM an excellently led company which, with its digital offering, is perfectly addressing the United Nations goals with respect to high quality education and digital innovation.”  Koen Bouckaert, Managing Partner and Head Consumer at Gimv, adds: “We are therefore particularly pleased to allocate part of our recently issued sustainable bond towards sofatutor’s growth story, thus making a significant contribution to both the company and society at large.”

The investor consortium around EMERAM and Gimv was advised in the transaction by IEG Investment Banking Group (M&A), GLNS and McDermott (Legal), PwC (Financial, Tax and Commercial) and Xperify (Tech/Marketing).

The transaction is subject to the usual conditions, including approval by the competition authorities. Further financial details are not to be disclosed.

Read the full press release:

EnglishFrenchDutchGerman

Gimv
Karel Oomsstraat 37, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium
www.gimv.com

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Andera Partners enters exclusivity agreement with IK Investment Partners to sell its majority stake in Skill & You

ik-investment-partners

The investment, conducted by IK Investment Partners alongside the management team led by Eric Petco and Sonia Levy-Odier, will open a new development cycle in line with the strong ambitions of the Group.

Paris, 4 February, 2021 – Andera Partners today announces that it has formed an exclusive agreement with IK Investment Partners to sell its majority stake in Skill & You to the IK IX Fund. Having generated nearly €115m of sales in 2020, Skill & You is a vocational e-learning provider with 120,000 students and 850 employees and has established itself as a market leader in France and Spain. The Group’s unrivalled portfolio of 220 courses largely lead to state diplomas and cover a wide range of professional fields (healthcare, childcare, animal health, IT & digital, accounting and administration, public service, and construction, among others). As a member of the EdTech France association, Skill & You also plays a major role in fostering the development of e-learning in France.

Since the original investment led by Andera MidCap in July 2018, Eric Petco and Sonia Levy-Odier have successfully carried out the change of scale of the Group, with sales growth reaching almost +25% per annum. Skill & You has continuously expanded its portfolio across new verticals (including accounting & management, naturopathy, bakery and fashion) and has consistently invested in the improvement of both pedagogical tools and academic support. An e-learning partnership has also been signed with French institutions to train jobseekers looking for further qualifications or a career change. The Group has also begun its international expansion by acquiring the Spanish market leader Ilerna Online in 2018, which has since experienced very strong growth.

As a new chapter unfolds for the Group, management intends to accelerate its development with the support of IK Investment Partners, in particular through:
– Strengthening its leadership position in a fast-growing market benefiting from promising trends, by continuing to invest in the Group’s training offering and its digital platform;
– Reinforcing Skill & You’s presence in B2G (public sector) and B2B; and
– Accelerating the development of the Group internationally by leveraging its strong expertise in France and Spain.

The transaction is expected to close in March 2021.

Eric Petco and Sonia Levy-Odier, Managers of Skill & You said: “Over the last three years, Skill & You has considerably overachieved its business plan objectives by taking advantage of the sound dynamics of the e-learning market while investing in its pedagogical content, its international development and by signing strategic partnerships, especially with French Institutions. We are delighted with the change of scale that has been achieved with the support of the Andera MidCap teams. We also look forward to starting a new collaboration with IK Investment Partners, which we believe is the ideal partner to further accelerate our development in France and Europe.”

Laurent Tourtois and Sylvain Charignon, Partners of Andera Partners, added: “We are very proud to have been able to support Eric and Sonia in the change of scale of the Group. Skill & You has benefited from the growing digitalisation of vocational training while managing to combine the diversification of its training portfolio with external growth and international development to rise as the European leader in this fast-growing market.Congratulations! We are grateful to all of Skill and You’s teams, who have been entirely committed to this project all along!” 

Rémi Buttiaux, Managing Partner at IK Investment Partners and advisor to the IK IX Fund said: “Skill & You has experienced impressive growth over the recent years due to the quality and the breadth of its offering and has built a clear leadership position in France and Spain. We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Skill & You and its management team in their ambitious growth strategy.”

For further questions, please contact:

IK Investment Partners

Maitland/AMO
James McFarlane
Phone: +44 (0) 7584 142 665
jmcfarlane@maitland.co.uk

Andera Partners

Nicolas Delsert
Communication & PR
+33 1 85 73 52 88
n.delsert@anderapartners.com

Marie-Charlotte Potet
Bien Commun Advisory
+33 6 47 97 39 46
mc.potet@bcadvisory.fr

About IK Investment Partners

IK Investment Partners (“IK”) is a Pan-European private equity firm focused on investments in the Benelux, DACH, France, Nordics and the UK. Since 1989, IK has raised more than €13 billion of capital and invested in over 140 European companies. IK supports companies with strong underlying potential, partnering with management teams and investors to create robust, well-positioned businesses with excellent long-term prospects. For more information, visit www.ikinvest.com

About Andera Partners

Created in 2001, Andera Partners (formerly Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners) is a major player in private company investments in France and internationally. Its teams manage nearly €2.5 billion in investments in life sciences (Andera Life Sciences), growth and buyout capital (Andera MidCap, Andera Expansion and Andera Croissance) and sponsorless transactions (Andera Acto).

Andera Partners’ mission is to work alongside companies and their managers to support them in achieving strong and sustainable growth. The quality of performance offered to our investors relies on a strong partnership between the entrepreneurs in our portfolio companies and our teams, based on shared values. Performance through collective engagement, the “Power of And”, constitutes Andera Partners’ DNA.

Based in Paris, Andera Partners is wholly owned by its teams, which count 74 professionals, of which nearly 50 investment professionals. It is structured as a partnership and managed by a board of 10 partners. Responsible and committed, the management company regularly forms partnerships with non-profit sector entities and takes concrete action in the fight against global warming. Andera Partners has been certified carbon neutral since 2018.

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The Onex Group to Invest in K-12 Industry Leader Weld North Education

Onex

Furthers Weld North Education’s Mission to Deliver Innovative and Comprehensive Digital-firstCurriculum Solutions and Servicesto Teachers and Students Across the U.S.
New York, NY, Toronto, ON, February 1, 2021 – Weld North Education (“WNE”) and Onex Corporation (“Onex”)(TSX: ONEX) today announced that Onex Partners V, Onex’ $7.2 billion fund, and certain co-investors, including Onex (the “Onex Group”), have agreed to make a significant investment in WNE, in partnership with the management team and the company’s existing investor, Silver Lake.

WNE is the leading K-12 digital curriculum company in the U.S., focused on unlocking the power of innovative technologies for learning, serving ten million students and seven thousand school districts with a comprehensive array of digital first curriculum solutions and services.
Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Weld North Education stated,“Since we launched WeldNorth Education in 2010,our unwavering commitment remains the same: to deliver products, capabilities and solutions that transform how teachers teach and how students learn by enablingthe power of data-driven instruction. As the leader in K-12 digital curriculum, we are proud ofourwork this past year in supporting schools, teachersand students during this unprecedented period of upheaval caused by the pandemic and weare privileged to be valued partners with administrators, teachers and students in harnessing technology to enhance the learning experienceand improve outcomes, both today and tomorrow.”

“We are delighted to partner with Jonathan, the team at Weld North Education and Silver Lake to invest in the future of transforming education. We have hands-on knowledge of the benefits of increased technology usage in K-12 education and are excited about Weld North Education’s commitment to improving student outcomes through a digital-first learning experience that gives teachers the tools they need,” said Laurence Goldberg, an Onex Managing Director.
“We are excited to welcome the Onex team as our new partners at Weld North Education. Onex shares our passion for education technology and has an impressive track record investing behind industries undergoing transformation. Since the time we first invested three years ago, we have never been more enthusiastic about Weld North Education’s future and we look forward to working closely with Onex and Jonathan for years to come,” said Silver Lake Managing Director Jonathan Durham.

The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of the first quarter subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. Further terms of the investment are not being disclosed at this time.
About Weld North Education
Weld North Education is a leading digital education technology company focused on developing digital curriculum and tools for PreK–12 students. The Company is built around two underlying businesses, Edgenuity and Imagine Learning. Edgenuity is a leading digital courseware provider focused on providing online curricula and intervention solutions. Imagine Learning is a leading digital supplemental solutions provider focused on addressing language, literacy and math. Read more about Weld North Education at www.weldnorthed.com.

About Onex
Founded in 1984, Onex invests and manages capital on behalf of its shareholders, institutional investors and high net worth clients from around the world. Onex’ platforms include: Onex Partners, private equity funds focused on larger opportunities in North America and Europe; ONCAP, private equity funds focused on middle market and smaller opportunities in North America; Onex Credit, which manages primarily non-investment grade debt through collateralized loan obligations, senior loan strategies and other private credit strategies; and Gluskin Sheff’s wealth management services including its actively managed public equity and public credit funds. In total, as of September 30, 2020, Onex has approximately $36.6 billion of assets under management, of which approximately $6.7 billion is its own shareholder capital. With offices in Toronto, New York, New Jersey and London, Onex and its experienced management teams are collectively the largest investors across Onex’ platforms.
The Onex Partners and ONCAP businesses have assets of $36 billion, generate annual revenues of $22 billion and employ approximately 149,000 people worldwide. Onex shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the stock symbol ONEX. For more information on Onex, visit its website at www.onex.com. Onex’ security filings can also be accessed at www.sedar.com.

About Silver Lake
Silver Lake is a global technology investment firm, with approximately $75 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital and a team of professionals based in North America, Europe and Asia. Silver Lake’s portfolio of investments collectively generates more than $180 billion of revenue annually and employs more than 400,000 people globally. For more information about Silver Lake and its portfolio, please visit www.silverlake.com.

Contacts:
Weld North Education
Elliot Sloane
ThroughCo Communications
esloane@throughco.com
917-291-0833
Onex
Jill Homenuk
Managing Director – Shareholder Relations and Communications
jhomenuk@onex.com
416-362-7711
Silver Lake
Jennifer Stroud
Edelman Jennifer.Stroud@Edelman.com
646-565-1792

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Bain Capital Contributes $100,000 to UP Education Network’s Campaign to Solve Digital Inequity

BainCapital

BOSTON, MA, January 14, 2021– UP Education Network, a nonprofit organization that partners with school districts, parents and staff to significantly improve formerly struggling Massachusetts schools, today announced that Bain Capital has contributed $100,000 to strengthen digital equity for all UP scholars. The contribution will provide UP Education Network’s students across five schools with devices, adequate internet access, and more IT support, ensuring every student successfully learns from home for what could be the remainder of the school year.

The transition to remote learning during the pandemic highlighted the digital inequity among students, especially those in underserved communities. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 59% of parents from economically disadvantaged communities who had children in schools that were remote at the time said their children would likely face at least one of three digital obstacles, including having to do schoolwork on a cellphone, no reliable internet connection at home, and no access to a computer at home. UP Education Network has been working to address digital inequity in the Boston-area community, developing new and unique systems and partnering with companies to provide their students, teachers, and families with what they need for effective remote learning.

“This generous donation from Bain Capital will benefit so many of our students, teachers, and families,” said Veronica Conforme, CEO of UP Education Network. “While the unprecedented learning challenges brought on by the pandemic remain significant, this contribution will allow us to move forward and focus on our students’ education, knowing they have the necessary infrastructure needed to handle the reality of remote learning.”

“Digital inequity is a prevalent and significant issue that will persist beyond the pandemic, and we are proud to support UP Education Network in their efforts to keep students learning,” said Greg Shell, a Managing Director of Bain Capital and member of the UP Board of Trustees. “With up to 20% of UP’s scholars lacking adequate internet to support remote learning, this is a long-standing problem of inequity highlighted by the pandemic. These issues have and will continue to impact our communities without the proper support.”

Currently, UP’s Boston schools are reassessing plans to reopen utilizing a hybrid learning model, starting with high needs students, then phasing in the rest of their K-8th grade students over the coming weeks where families opt in, and if the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 4%. They will continue to provide a remote learning option likely through the end of the school year.

About Bain Capital
Bain Capital, LP is one of the world’s leading private multi-asset investment firms that creates lasting impact for our investors, teams, businesses, and the communities in which we live. Since our founding in 1984, we’ve applied our insight and experience to organically expand into numerous asset classes including private equity, credit, public equity, venture capital, real estate and other strategic areas of focus. The firm has offices on four continents, more than 1,200 employees and approximately $105 billion in assets under management. To learn more, visit www.baincapital.com or follow Bain Capital on Twitter.

About UP Education Network
UP Education Network is a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts that partners with school districts, families, and staff to improve formerly struggling district schools into exceptional learning environments where scholars cultivate sharp minds, share their kind hearts, and explore their path and potential. UP serves more than 2,500 scholars across five schools, two in Lawrence, MA and three in Boston, MA. To learn more about UP, visit our website: www.upeducationnetwork.org, or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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FUTUREWHIZ, parent company of SQULA and WRTS, acquired by NPM Capital

NPM Capital

  • Acquisition of Futurewhiz by investment firm NPM Capital
  • Transaction further enables Futurewhiz to realize growth strategy at home and abroad
  • Acquisition has no impact on core activities of existing online platforms

Amsterdam, 24. December 2020 – Futurewhiz, also trading as Squla and WRTS, today announces its acquisition by investment firm NPM Capital. NPM Capital, a Dutch investor, will buy the majority of shares of Futurewhiz from international investment firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. The acquisition will have no impact on the core activities of Futurewhiz’ online learning platforms for children between 3 and 18 years of age.  No further details have been given about the value of this transaction.

Serge Bueters, CEO of Futurewhiz: “We are very happy to announce the acquisition of Futurewhiz by NPM Capital. We believe that with NPM Capital as a partner, we will be able to realize our growth ambitions and our mission to help as much children as possible to make progress in a fun and engaging way through our popular platforms Squla, WRTS and Scoyo. It is more important than ever that primary and secondary school students are provided with additional support in their education. With the active support of NPM Capital, we will be able to accelerate our (inter)national goals and to give extra support to millions of children in primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Poland. We are also very thankful for the support Levine Leichtman Capital Partners has given us. Together with the management, LLCP has made significant investments in the growth of our two platforms and has prepared Futurewhiz for the next phase”.

“With Futurewhiz we are able to add strong activities and well-positioned brands to our portfolio of participations,” states Bart Coopmans, Managing Director at NPM Capital. “Online learning is seamlessly aligned with our strategic investment themes and the social trends we have already observed for several years now. We believe we are able to support talented and skilled organizations and market propositions with growth capital and pave the way for a next phase in their development towards long-term growth and value creation. As mother company of Squla, Scoyo and WRTS, Futurewhiz has a strong track-record and market position. We are really looking forward to fully make use of this growth potential together with Futurewhiz”.

About Futurewhiz
Futurewhiz employs 70 people, is located in Amsterdam and operates in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Futurewhiz is the mother company of Squla en Scoyo, as well as WRTS, an online learning platform for secondary school students enabling them to learn words and concepts more efficiently and quicker. Futurewhiz was founded in the Netherlands ten years ago. With Squla, Futurewhiz was certified by B-corp recently, and is one of the frontrunners in the field of CSR and social impact. Squla is the main provider of additional interactive educational tools for primary school pupils in the Netherlands. Over 180,000 children play and practice with Squla from their homes and more than 600,000 primary school students use its tools at school. Squla is active in the Netherlands and Poland, with Squla.nl and Squla.pl. WRTS is the platform for secondary school students and helps them to prepare for tests with quizzes about words and concepts, practice tests, video and 1 to 1 support by tutor chats. Every year, over half a million students and teachers are active on WRTS.nl and WRTS.be. Scoyo.de is a German online learning platform that was launched fifteen years ago and was bought in 2020 by Futurewhiz. Scoyo offers exercise materials, based on the same format as Squla to pupils in grade 1 to 7 in Germany.

About NPM Capital
NPM Capital invests in middle market companies in the Benelux and supports companies to enter the next growth phase in their development. NPM Capital, with SHV as its sole shareholder, has sufficient capital in order to apply a long investment horizon. Currently, NPM Capital has a portfolio of 26 participations (majority as well as minority holdings, including growth capital) and focuses on the following issues of the future: Future of Energy, Everything is Digital, Feeding the World and Healthy Life.

About Levine Leichtman Capital Partners
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is a private equity firm with a focus on middle market companies. With a track-record of over 37 years and its in-depth expertise in several industries, such as franchising, professional services, healthcare, education and technical products, LLCP implements a distinctive investment strategy that combines investments in debt and equity. LLCP has managed approximately 11 billion dollar of institutional capital since inception, spread over 14 investment funds, and has invested in more than 85 portfolio companies. Currently, LLCP manages approximately 7 billion dollar of capital, including the most recent European Fund, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Europe II, SCSP that closed 2020 with 463 million euro committed capital – and has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, London, Stockholm and The Hague.

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Gryphon Investors Completes Majority Investment in Meazure Learning

Gryphon Investors

San Francisco, CA – December 22, 2020 —

Gryphon Investors (“Gryphon”), a leading middle-market private equity firm, announced today that it has become the majority investor in Meazure Learning (“Meazure” or the “Company”), a full-service exam delivery and online proctoring solution provider for academic, professional, and lifelong learners. Existing sponsor Eastside Partners will retain a significant ownership stake, as will the Company’s management team, including go-forward CEO Scott McFarland. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Meazure Learning is the world’s largest remote exam proctoring company, also offering a full suite of assessment products and services, including proprietary exam development and delivery software as well as reporting and psychometric services, to the academic and professional testing markets. Based in Birmingham, AL, the Company employs nearly 300 people plus a network of over 1,300 trained proctors, and it serves more than 1,000 clients including major universities, certification and licensure associations, standardized testing services, and corporations.

Nick Orum, President and Co-Head of Gryphon’s Software Group, said, “Gryphon has invested previously in the education sector, and we are excited by the trends we’re seeing in the continued intersection of technology and learning. The increasing consumer preference for digitally driven flexibility has opened up a multi-billion-dollar market opportunity in the academic and professional remote testing spaces. We are thrilled to partner with the team at Meazure as we look to welcome new customers and reinforce the Company’s position as the most secure, convenient, and accessible experience for test-takers across the globe.”

Meazure’s management team will continue to be led by CEO McFarland and President Sandy Pitman. As part of the new partnership, Mr. Orum will join the Board of Directors, along with three additional Gryphon executives. Carl Theobald, Software Operating Partner, Jon Cheek, Principal in the Software Group, and Paul Margolis, Executive Advisor to Gryphon’s Software Group, will all join Eastside Partner Benjamin Cobb, who remains on the board.

Mr. Cheek commented, “Even before COVID-19, remote test-taking was undergoing a ‘Blockbuster to Netflix’ type transformation due to massive expansion in e-learning, a proliferation of professional training and certification programs, and a growing recognition of the test-taker convenience and cost savings offered by an online approach versus in-person testing. The pandemic has accelerated these growth trends beyond all expectations and given strong players like Meazure an enormous competitive advantage.”

Mr. Cobb added, “The pandemic has required many test owners to adopt remote proctoring solutions this year, often against the backdrop of 20+ years of in-person testing. We’ve helped testing organizations transition from uncertainty to excitement with remote testing due to some of its unique advantages – secure, safe, convenient, on-demand testing with global candidate reach. We’re excited to partner with Gryphon to better serve our customers and scale our solutions to support test owners whose needs aren’t being met.”

“We are delighted to partner with Gryphon as we plan for near-term, rapid expansion fueled by a changing industry and shifting expectations and requirements by test-takers,” said Mr. McFarland. “Their investment will allow us to solidify our position as a best-in-class remote testing and exam integrity platform and accelerate growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions.”

Baird acted as financial advisor to Gryphon, and Raymond James was the financial advisor to Meazure. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Gryphon, and Bradley acted as legal advisor to Meazure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Meazure Learning
Meazure Learning (www.meazurelearning.com) is a full-service testing solutions company for academic, professional and lifelong learners. The result of a merger between ProctorU – the world’s largest provider of online, artificial-intelligence-augmented exam security and identity management solutions – and Yardstick Assessment Strategies – a leader in psychometrics and computer-based examination administration for professional testing organizations – Meazure Learning serves the higher education market via the ProctorU brand and the professional testing market via the Yardstick brand. As the first end-to-end testing provider to lead with an online delivery model, Meazure Learning is transforming the testing and assessment landscape.

About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors (www.gryphoninvestors.com) is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. The firm has managed over $5.0 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997. Gryphon targets making equity investments of $50 million to $300 million in portfolio companies with enterprise values ranging from approximately $100 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form strong partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.

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Ardian acquires a majority stake in AD Education, a European education platform specialized in arts, digital and audiovisual alongside its founder and CEO

Ardian

  • 18 December 2020 Buyout France, Paris

Paris, December 18, 2020 – Ardian, a world-leading private equity house, announces the acquisition of a majority stake in AD Education alongside Kevin Guenegan, founder and CEO of the group as well as the management team.

Founded in 2009, AD Education is a leading European higher education platform, pure player in the field of Creative Arts, teaching to more than 15,000 students in 12 schools on 36 campuses in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. AD Education covers 4 main sub-segments: Design & Graphical Arts, Media & Digital, Audiovisual and Culture & Luxury.

Over the past 10 years, the Group has established itself as the French leader on its core educational fields, following continued organic growth as well as successful build-ups, and as a sizeable European platform following acquisitions in Italy, Spain and Germany.

Within the framework of the partnership with AD Education, Ardian will support Kevin Guenegan and the management team in accelerating both organic and external growth as well as reinforcing its geographical diversification strategy. Thanks to its solid expertise in the education sector and its international network, Ardian holds the financial and human resources to identify and seize growth opportunities and thus support AD Education in its ambitious growth plan.

Kevin Guenegan, Chairman of the AD Education Group, said: ”On behalf of all AD Education employees, I would like to welcome Ardian to this chapter that marks a new momentum for our company. We are very pleased with this agreement and partnership. With its financial and strategic resources, Ardian will enable AD Education to continue its development in line with the group’s values and its vision of education in Creative Arts, to pursue the consolidation of the different European markets, to invest in innovative programs and digital solutions to meet the needs and new trends and expectations of parents and students, while fully addressing the environmental, social and societal challenges of our societies.”

Philippe Poletti, Chairman of Ardian France, member of the Executive Committee and Head of Ardian Buyout, added: “We are delighted with this ambitious partnership with Kevin Guenegan and his management team, which also allows us to invest in a growth project in education, an attractive investment sector with a real social and societal impact.”

Emmanuel Miquel, Managing Director in the Ardian Buyout team, said: “With their renowned expertise in Creative Arts, Kevin Guenegan and his team have created a first class European platform and enabled the company to experience remarkable growth, offering coherent and innovative courses adapted to today’s challenges. We are very proud to become AD Education’s partner in the next phase of its story and to accompany them in their growth strategy and international development.”

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

  • ARDIAN

    • Emmanuel Miquel, Nicolas Trani, Jean-Baptiste Hunaut, Anouk Daoudal
    • Buyer M&A advisors: Centerview Partners (Nicolas Constant, Pierre Pasqual, Matthieu Sommier, Cassandre Devoir),
    • Buyer legal advisor: Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Eduardo Fernandez, Gil Kiener, Louis Jambu-Merlin) (corporate), Latham & Watkins (Xavier Farde, Carla-Sophie Imperadeiro (financing), Olivia Rauch-Ravisé, Clémence Morel (structuring)),
    • Buyer strategic DD: EY Parthenon (Guéric Jacquet, Anna Grotberg),
    • Buyer financial DD: KPMG (Guilhem Maguin, Grégoire Didier),
    • Buyer legal DD: Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Eduardo Fernandez, Gil Kiener, Louis Jambu-Merlin),
    • Buyer tax DD: KPMG Avocats (Sophie Fournier-Dedoyard),
    • Buyer labor DD: Chassany Watrelot et Associés (Julien Boucaud-Maitre)
  • AD EDUCATION

    • Kevin Guenegan (Founder & CEO of AD Education), Cathay Capital (Fabien Wesse), BPIFrance (Benoist de Saint Léger),
    • Vendor M&A advisors: Lazard Frères (Charles Andrez, Jean-Philippe Bescond, Razika Abchiche), Eurvad Finance (Charles Guigan),
    • Vendor legal advisors: Gowling WLG (Patrick Mousset),
    • Vendor strategic DD: BCG (Benjamin Entraygues, Guillaume Darrieus)
    • Vendor financial DD: Alvarez & Marsal (Frédéric Steiner),
    • Vendor legal DD: Gowling WLG (Patrick Mousset),
    • Vendor tax DD: Arsène Taxand (Alexandre Rocchi),
    • Management financial advisor: Jeausserand Audouard (Jérémie Jeausserand), Oloryn Partners (Eric Lesieur).

ABOUT AD EDUCATION

Founded in 2009, AD Education is a leading European higher education platform, pure player in the field of Creative Arts and teaching to more than 15,000 students in 12 schools on 36 campuses in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. AD Education covers 4 main sub-segments: Design & Graphical Arts, Media & Digital, Audiovisual and Culture & Luxury. Over the past 10 years, the Group has established itself as the French leader on its core educational fields, following continued organic growth as well as successful build-ups, and as a sizeable European platform following acquisitions in Italy, Spain and Germany.

ABOUT ARDIAN

Ardian is a world-leading private investment house with assets of US$100bn managed or advised in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The company is majority-owned by its employees. It keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and focuses on delivering excellent investment performance to its global investor base. Through its commitment to shared outcomes for all stakeholders, Ardian’s activities fuel individual, corporate and economic growth around the world. Holding close its core values of excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship, Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 700 employees working from fifteen offices across Europe (Frankfurt, Jersey, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich), the Americas (New York, San Francisco and Santiago) and Asia (Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul). It manages funds on behalf of around 1,000 clients through five pillars of investment expertise: Fund of Funds, Direct Funds, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Private Debt. Follow Ardian on Twitter @Ardian

PRESS CONTACTS

ARDIAN – Headland

VIKTOR TSVETANOV

VTsvetanov@headlandconsultancy.com +44 207 3435 7469

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Montagu to acquire Capita’s ESS business and invest in ParentPay Group

Montagu

Montagu to acquire Capita’s ESS business and invest in ParentPay Group

Montagu Private Equity (“Montagu”), a leading European private equity firm, today announces it has agreed to acquire the Education Software Solutions business (“ESS”) of Capita plc and has also agreed to invest in ParentPay Group (“ParentPay”), a leading provider of education technology. Following successful completion of both investments, ESS will become part of the ParentPay Group.

ESS is a standalone provider of management information system and related software for the education sector. ESS’ flagship product SIMS is used by 19,000 schools in the UK and internationally to collect and manage a database of student information and core school operations.

ParentPay delivers online payments, income management, parental engagement and school catering solutions to over 18,000 schools and caterers across the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.

Through the acquisition of ESS and the subsequent proposed investment, Montagu and ParentPay intend to bring together two high-quality and complementary businesses in the education software market. Montagu and ParentPay intend to utilise their combined expertise and network to support and accelerate innovation within the product portfolio, including the roll-out of ESS’s cloud-native SIMS 8 and other value-add services to schools and parents, catering to their increasingly sophisticated needs.

Edward Shuckburgh, Director at Montagu, said: “We are excited to be backing ESS which is an excellent fit for Montagu’s investment strategy, providing essential services to an extensive customer school base and operating in a market with attractive secular growth drivers. With ParentPay, we are also delighted to be bringing together two businesses with complementary products and shared values, with the ultimate aim of broadening the companies’ respective leading offerings to further benefit end customers.”

Mark Brant, CEO of ParentPay, said: “As one of the UK’s earliest ‘fintechs’, innovation has always been at the heart of ParentPay. By continually adapting and investing we ensure our customers in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany can count on us. Together with ESS and Montagu we will be able to further accelerate innovation in our sector. We look forward to welcoming the ESS team into the ParentPay Group and working closely with Montagu to further enhance the value we deliver to our collective customers.”

Andy Bennett, Managing Director of ESS, said: “We are very pleased with the sale to Montagu, a proven, collaborative investor in high-quality companies and the intention to become part of the ParentPay Group. This deal will provide significant opportunities to grow our business and bring further value to our employees and customers.
We look forward to working with our new owners to support and accelerate innovation within our product portfolio particularly with our SIMS product as we continue to improve and enhance how we support staff in over 19,000 schools across the UK with the tools to manage school life.”

Completion of the ESS sale to Montagu is subject to approval from Capita’s shareholders and the proposed investment in ParentPay is subject to CMA approvals.

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Sovereign exits its investment in BIMM – Europe’s leading provider of creative arts education

Sovereign Capital

Sovereign Capital Partners, the UK private equity Buy & Build specialist, announces the realisation of its investment in education provider BIMM, the largest and leading provider of creative arts education in Europe through a sale to funds managed by ICG plc, the global alternative asset manager. The exit follows a highly successful ten-year partnership with BIMM.

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When Sovereign first invested in BIMM the Group had 1,150 contemporary music students in colleges in Brighton and Bristol. Today, the Group has 12 colleges across Europe. These include London, Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, Berlin and Hamburg, established through five strategic acquisitions and five new campus roll-outs and the Group now has over 8,200 students across the creative arts education areas of music, film and performing arts.

BIMM is renowned for its expertise in the tuition of contemporary music and as part of its strategic diversification, BIMM moved into the broader creative arts education market to include film and performing arts. This was achieved through the acquisitions of the Institute for Contemporary Theatre, based in Brighton in 2017, Performers College in 2019, and recently the acquisition of the prestigious Northern Ballet School which also became the location for BIMM’s Institute of Contemporary Theatre Manchester campus.

The high quality and relevance of BIMM’s specialist vocational education offering is reflected in the continued increase in student enrolments, its 83% graduate employment rate in Creative Arts, and being granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers in the UK, by Order of the Privy Council in March 2019 which further enhances the Group’s attraction to students. Well known alumni include Ella Mai, George Ezra, Mercy Sotire and James Bay and BIMM’s Patron is The Who’s, Roger Daltrey.

Adam Carswell, Chief Executive, BIMM said, ‘This has been an incredible journey with Sovereign. Everyone at BIMM has always been passionate about bringing a high-quality education offering to students who want to learn the skills that are most relevant to provide them with the best possible chance of a successful career in the creative industries, following their dreams and career ambitions. The attractiveness of our offering to students has been constant and with Sovereign’s continued investment and strategic support, we have been able to achieve more than we had ever envisaged. It’s been an amazing 10 years for BIMM and I have been privileged to work with our incredibly talented lecturers, our staff and my board colleagues, as well as the team at Sovereign. I very much look forward to leading BIMM’s continued success and growth.’

James Dargan, Investment Director, Sovereign said, ‘The BIMM team are both passionately creative and commercially strong. It has been tremendous to work with them to support both the follow-on acquisitions and the roll-out of new colleges. The arts and culture industry contributes around £11 billion a year to the UK economy; this is a very attractive market to graduate into and the students value the vocational nature of the courses BIMM is recognised for. I am sure the Group will continue to go from strength to strength.’

Andrew Hayden, Chairman, Sovereign added, ‘We are very proud to have had the opportunity to work with an excellent management team to create a clear market leader in creative arts higher education. We have invested in BIMM over the years to support transformational growth and to help ensure that quality has remained front and centre. The talent that has blossomed under the care of the BIMM staff is extraordinary. It’s been a real privilege to have played a part in BIMM’s story and we wish the Group every continued success.’

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Symphony Technology Group Acquires Warpwire, Leading Provider of Educational Video Services

Stg Partners

Warpwire marks STG’s third investment into a unified platform following the acquisitions of CadmiumCD and EthosCE earlier this year.

Symphony Technology Group (“STG”), a Palo Alto-based private equity firm focused on investing in the software, data analytics, and software-enabled technology services sectors, today announced that it has acquired Warpwire, a Durham, North Carolina-based educational video management company.

“Warpwire focuses on providing world-class reliability and security to our customers. Our partnership with STG will only increase our capabilities for robust video delivery,” said Warpwire co-founder and CTO Monte Evans.

This acquisition underscores STG’s commitment to building a unique, market-leading software platform offering continuing education, professional development, events, learning and content management solutions to associations, healthcare & life sciences organizations, hospitals, and universities globally. Warpwire marks STG’s third investment in this platform following the acquisitions of CadmiumCD and EthosCE earlier this year.

“The acquisitions of EthosCE, CadmiumCD, and now Warpwire, are the continuation of STG’s vision of a unified technology platform for professional education,” said William Chisholm, co-founder and Managing Partner of STG.

“We’re impressed with STG’s research in this product space, and vision to join and strengthen like-minded teams. As we align with EthosCE and CadmiumCD, Warpwire is energized to continue creating compelling media solutions for our shared client base,” adds Warpwire co-founder and COO Andrew Synowiez.

This acquisition is another step toward STG’s vision to create a purpose-built software platform for association, healthcare, life sciences and university customers to help them manage various continuing education, professional development and learning activities through events and online content for their members.

“We released an integration with Warpwire in March 2018,” said EthosCE founder and CTO Ezra Wolfe. “We look forward to offering Warpwire’s video services in new and unique ways as an additional value-add for clients who use video content as part of their continuing education programs.”

“We are very excited to bring Warpwire into our expanding portfolio of industry-leading products and scale it even further by investing in new solution areas and complementary acquisitions,” said Rushi Kulkarni, Principal at STG.

Benefits of the expanded platform include:

  • Trackable video content and learner usage metrics
  • Low-cost video hosting for continuing education programs
  • Secure video delivery inside a password-protected continuing education environment
  • Ad-free video player environment for CME
  • Multi-camera video recording and playback
  • Multiple closed caption provider options, and manual video captions

A 5-minute demo of the Warpwire integration with EthosCE is available on the Warpwire platform.

About Warpwire

Warpwire is a video delivery platform for leading enterprise and educational institutions whose users require a secure, simple, and reliable system for hosting media content. Founded in 2013, Warpwire’s team has extensive experience custom-integrating media technologies for learning environments in ways that are accessible, flexible, and collaborative.

For more information, please visit www.warpwire.com

About EthosCE

EthosCE is the leading learning management system for medical associations, universities, health systems, and medical education companies. EthosCE is produced by DLC Solutions, LLC. Established in 2001, DLC Solutions develops innovative e-learning solutions to support diverse professional populations.

For more information, please visit www.ethosce.com

About CadmiumCD

CadmiumCD is an event management software company with more than 15 years of experience providing solutions for Meeting Planners, Exhibition Organizers, Education Directors, and Attendees. The company’s award-winning platform is trusted by more than 3,500 meeting professionals worldwide to collect, manage and share content to all event stakeholders.

For more information, please visit www.cadmiumcd.com

About Symphony Technology Group

STG is the private equity partner to market leading companies in data, software, and analytics. The firm brings expertise, flexibility, and resources to build strategic value and unlock the potential of innovative companies. Partnering to build customer-centric, market winning portfolio companies, STG creates sustainable foundations for growth that bring value to all existing and future stakeholders. The firm is dedicated to transforming and building outstanding technology companies in partnership with world class management teams. STG’s expansive portfolio has consisted of more than 30 global companies.

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