Sovereign Capital has sold World Class Learning (WCL) to Nord Anglia Education, generating a 5.3x money multiple and 70% IRR.
The deal size has not been disclosed. However, it was reported earlier in the year that the company could fetch around £150m. Following a pre-emptive approach last summer, Sovereign brought in Lincoln International to carry out a strategic review of the company. Investcorp, Carlyle and Providence were among private equity bidders involved in the process.
Sovereign backed the international schools group in April 2008 through a £34m management buyout. Sovereign underwrote the entire deal, later bringing Ares on board as debt provider. Approximately £10m in further funding has been provided since then.
Under Sovereign ownership, the company has increased student numbers by 165% from 1,700 to 4,500. The group acquired International College Spain, an English language co-educational day school in Madrid. WCL also opened two new schools in New York and Qatar. Additionally, Sovereign oversaw a £20m investment programme into WCL's facilities, infrastructure and equipment.
Furthermore, during the investment, James Alexandre was appointed as chairman and Steve Brown as finance director. Alexandre was previously president and CEO of DLJ International (London) and Brown has a background in acquisitions and start-ups.
WCL was established in 1998 in Washington DC. The company now operates in five other US locations: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston and New York, as well as in Doha and Al Khor in Qatar.
As well as its own schools, WCL also works with other institutions by operating leadership and management programmes for teachers in other schools.
Kevin Whittle and Jose Rodriguez Casenas from Sovereign led the investment.
Equity – Lincoln International, Darren Redmayne (Corporate finance); Jones Day, Adam Greaves, Anna Cartwright (Legal).
This is the second deal inked by the GP via Wisequity V, which closed on its €260m hard-cap in July 2019
Pascal Meysson joins from Alcentra and has previous experience at Deutsche Bank and Charterhouse
Mirabaud is reportedly planning to invest via its Living Heritage private equity fund
HIG invested from its Growth Buyout Equity Fund III to acquire Vernacare from Palatine