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Silverfleet Capital acquires majority stake in Lifetime for rumoured £115-120m

Silverfleet Capital has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Lifetime, one of the UK’s largest vocational training providers, from Sovereign Capital.

It is understood to have beaten off competition from Graphite Capital and US-based Gores Group, and according to one source paid in the region of £115-120 million - about 10 times the company's ebitda.  

Lifetime's management team reinvested alongside Silverfleet, acquiring a significant minority stake. Completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Bristol, Lifetime offers apprenticeship programmes and commercial training across the UK.
Its clients include Greene King, Pizza Express and Bupa and it caters to around 22,000 learners annually. That is up from 10,000 in 2011, when Sovereign backed a management buy-out of the company.

Lifetime increased its sales from £24 million in 2011 to £43.4 million last financial year.

Adrian Yurkwich, partner at Silverfleet Capital said: “Lifetime Training is a market leader with a strong management team led by Alex Khan and a first class reputation for quality and professionalism.

"We are excited by the prospect of working with... the wider management team to take Lifetime Training to the next level.”

Alex Khan, chief executive of Lifetime said: “Sovereign has been a highly supportive investor that really knows the market and I am delighted to continue to have the opportunity to help shape the direction and evolution of the group.” 

Sovereign’s deal team included Andrew Hayden, Jose Rodriguez, Kevin Whittle and David Myers.
BDO provided corporate finance advice while Parthenon-EY provided commercial due diligence. Burges Salmon was Sovereign’s legal advisor and GK Strategy provided political due diligence.

Corporate finance house Quayle Munro and CDD house Plural Strategy advised Silverfleet Capital. 

Sovereign has a track record of investing in education and last year acquired the teacher recruitment business Synarbor. In 2014, a deal that would have seen Bowmark Capital buy Sovereign’s Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) fell through after a disagreement over price.

Posted on: 21/06/2016

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