The Netherlands’ largest tutoring provider has instructed corporate financiers to explore a sale of the business, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

This publication has learnt from four sources that Dutch centre-based tuition platform Lyceo Holding has mandated PwC to explore an auction of the company.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered at an office in Leiden absent of exterior branding, Lyceo operates around 60 exam-training “hubs” across the Netherlands via multiple subsidiaries. The organisation, the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, also partners with around 140 schools, charging them cheaper rates for test-preparation training in exchange for use of classrooms.

Despite being the leader in a market that is estimated to be worth up to €285 million, Lyceo, from a corporate perspective, is a furtive operator. The firm refers to its subsidiaries as “knowledge partners” but through a series of acquisitions since its founding now controls several scaled tutoring providers, including Inwijs, according to an article published on Medium.

One investment banker whose team examined Lyceo and the market within which it sits said that its most recent acquisition was that of Studiekring in 2019 from European buyout group Gimv, which had held a majority stake in the business for eight years. At the time of the takeover by Lyceo, Studiekring operated more than 70 locations and employed nearly 600 staff.

Lyceo – and its competitors – are benefitting from tailwinds spurred by the Netherlands’ government, which subsidises in-school tuition provided by for-profit operators, market observers told this publication.

“There are good tailwinds for the business,” a source said. “The market is being silently privatised – so the [Dutch] government is essentially channelling funds into private providers like Lyceo. In addition, there appears to be a significant gap for under-the-radar buy-and-build strategies.”

The organisation was set up by engineers-cum-entrepreneurs Joost Lasschuit and Bram Masselink, who reportedly exited in 2013 and went on to launch Top Side Industries Group with backing from Écart Invest.

However, this publication’s searches of public records, press reports databases and conversations with multiple market sources failed to establish the identity of Lyceo’s majority shareholder(s). Lyceo had not responded to an emailed request for comment at the time of publication.

Lyceo’s financials – and therefore its value expectations – are unclear.

The company is headed up by managing director Nicole van Riessen, who joined in April 2020, according to her LinkedIn profile. Van Rieseen had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

A spokesperson for PwC had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Date published: 19 July 2021