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Sovereign Capital acquires London private school group

Private equity house Sovereign Capital has acquired a majority stake in London-based school group Eaton House for an undisclosed sum.

A source said the business was valued at over £30 million - a rate of 12 to 13 times ebitda - and that Sovereign bought a 60% stake.

Eaton House was established in Belgravia in 1978 and encompasses six prep and pre- schools: Eaton House Belgravia, Eaton House The Vale School, Eaton House The Manor Preparatory, Eaton House The Manor Pre-Preparatory, Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School and Eaton House The Manor Nursery.

The family-owned business was sold because principal Hillary Harper is retiring. However, chief executive and family member Luchie Cawood will remain in place and retains a significant stake in the group.  

In a letter to parents, principal Hillary Harper said: “I would like to thank all of you for entrusting your children’s education to the Eaton House Group of Schools and we will always be grateful for your support."

She added: "[Our] superb team of heads, teachers and staff will continue to provide your children with the top quality education and family ethos you have come to expect from our schools. 

“Sovereign will provide the further investment required to continue the development of our high quality educational offering and facilities in London.”

Sovereign said it would not integrate Eaton House with its private sixth form college group Astrum Education.

A spokesperson said: “Sovereign is delighted to be backing the Eaton House Group of schools to support the continued development of their high quality educational offering. The group is one of London’s leading independent, family-owned group of schools.”

Sovereign has backed other schools groups in the past including Alpha Plus and World Class Learning.

Posted on: 27/06/2016

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