Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP), a US-based private equity firm, has acquired Belgium-based e-learning provider SiPM, in the latest education deal to close against a backdrop of unprecedented economic turbulence.

Headquartered in Hasselt, SiPM provides online courses and training to staff working within supply chains to more than 200 blue-chip companies in roles related to procurement and sales across more than 200 countries.

Mid-market buyout house LLCP, which manages nearly $7 billion of assets, fended off competition from US trade buyers and European private equity funds, a source said, and was drawn to the firm’s “expanding and loyal” client base, international presence and robust profit margin, which is understood to be above 50%.

One source said that LLCP paid a “double-digit” price-to-earnings multiple for SiPM, but was unable to shed light on the company’s financials or the transaction value.

SiPM, which was brought to market by Lincoln International around seven months ago, operates three brands: Procurement Academy, Supply Chain Academy, and Sales Academy.

It counts technology giant Sony, HSBC bank, car-manufacturer Renault and printer-maker Xerox among its clients. 

LLCP has made investments in the consumer, business services, healthcare, education and engineered products industries, among others, according to its website.

Its purchase of SiPM is not the fund’s first education deal in Europe. 

LLCP used to own Mander Portman Woodward (MPW), a string of private sixth form colleges in London, before it was sold to training provider Kaplan in 2015. 

In 2014, LLCP aquired UK-based exam-revision company Justin Craig Education from consumer brands specialist Piper and brought it under the MPW umbrella. 

Date published: 12 May 2020

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