Busy Bees, the global childcare group backed by a Canadian pension fund, has revised its offer for Australia-listed nursery operator Think Childcare Group, bidding A$3.20-a-share to fend off competition from a private equity house.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Busy Bees’ fresh offer – up from A$2.10-a-share in January and A$1.75 in December – comes after the firm was permitted to negotiate directly with rival bidder Alceon Private Equity, following a six-month price war.

Alceon Private Equity kicked off proceedings in November last year with a A$1.35-a-share bid for Think Childcare, which operates more than 70 nurseries and has seen its value balloon despite pandemic-induced lockdowns resulting in depressed demand for childcare.

Alceon Private Equity, which owns a 19.2% stake in Think Childcare, has agreed to offload its position to Busy Bees under its proposal.

Alceon Private Equity bought its stake at A$1.75-a-share, so has turned A$20.5 million into A$37.6 million in just four months, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Think Childcare’s share price climbed 33% after Busy Bees’ bid was announced.

Moelis and MinterEllison are advising Think Childcare on its options, while Rothschild and DLA Piper are advising Busy Bees.

Date published: 7 April 2021

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