Agilitas Private Equity, a London-based buyout house, has acquired UK apprenticeship provider Learning Curve for around £100 million, EducationInvestor Global can exclusively reveal, wrapping up an auction process unveiled by this publication last year.

This publication has learnt that MML Capital Partners – Learning Curve’s previous private equity owner, which took a 50% stake in the business in 2015 – has exited the company following the close of a successful sale marshalled by Clearwater International.

It is understood that Agilitas, which has invested in several UK- and Nordic-based businesses, will pay between nine- and 10-times Learning Curve’s EBITDA, which stood at £11 million in 2019, for a controlling stake in the organisation.

It is unclear what size stake Learning Curve’s directors – Brenda McLeish and Jon Cummings – will retain.

Learning Curve will issue a press release confirming the transaction tomorrow (13 March, 2020), it is understood.

The deal comes just days after Learning Curve announced its acquisition of London-based hair and beauty training provider the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy and its subsidiary, London Beauty Training Academy.

Agilitas’ acquisition of Learning Curve marks the private equity group’s first foray into the education sector.

Its portfolio includes Exemplar Health Care, Hydro International and Teracom Denmark, according to its website.

Founded in 2004, Learning Curve caters to more than 100,000 students a year through its range of apprenticeship programmes, academies and government-funded training schemes.

According to its website, Learning Curve services more than 4,500 employers a year, assisting them with the development of workplace-training schemes, vocational qualifications and long-term apprenticeships.

Directly funded by the UK’s Skills Funding Agency and Education Funding Agency, Learning Curve is “the largest subcontractor partner to FE [further education] colleges of our type”, the firm’s website states.

According to its website, Agilitas “focuses on making transformational investments in defensible businesses”.

A representative for Learning Curve declined to comment on the details of the transaction. 

Clearwater International could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Agilitas could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

MML Capital Partners could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Date published: 12 March 2020

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