West PE backs secondary buyout of Asquith Court

Investee Company – Asquith Court (UK)

Investee Company Business Type – Operates a group of private nurseries and independent day schools

Type of Financing – Acquisition

Equity Providers – West Private Equity

Equity Leader (Individual) – Jeremy Hand, West Private Equity

Debt Providers – Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

Debt Type – Bank debt, working capital facilities and mezzanine

Debt Leader (Individual) – Juergen Breuer, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

Equity Amount – undisclosed, thought to be approx 50%

Total Deal Value – £66 million

Other Advisors – SG Hambros, KPMG Transaction Services, Clifford Chance LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance.

Comments – West Private Equity, the European private equity arm of WestLB, and management have participated in the £66 million acquisition of Asquith Court Holdings. Peter Aughterson, Asquith’s CEO since 1993 remains, with Jean Cross and Ron Ring to continue as operations director and finance director, respectively.

Asquith Court Holdings, based in Berhamsted, was founded in 1989 and currently runs 76 private nurseries and nine independent day schools in the UK mainly concentrated within London and the South East. The company’s nurseries care for 76,000 youngsters aged three months to five years and their independent schools educate 2,500 children of between three and 16 years old.

Jeremy Hand, managing director of West Private Equity, said: “We are delighted to be investing in the leading private educational services group in the UK. Asquith Court operates at the top end of a fast growing yet fragmented market and we believe that the business will deliver strong growth over the coming years both organically and through acquisition.”

West Private Equity plans to expand the group through development of new sites and acquisition of existing private nurseries and independent schools. This is West Private Equity’s seventh investment to date from its euro400 million fund, previous investments include Fox IT, a European IT and e-business services consultancy and Coperion, provider of services and engineering products to the plastic processing industry.