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Sovereign Capital seals 5.3x return, 70% IRR selling World Class Learning

23 May 2013

school-trip_lrgUK buy and build specialist Sovereign Capital has made a 5.3 times cash multiple and 70 per cent IRR by selling World Class Learning to Baring Private Equity-backed Nord Anglia Education.

Nord Anglia had to compete with several other private equity bidders including Carlyle, Investcorp and Providence Equity Partners for the international schools group.

Financial terms for the deal were not revealed, although it was previously reported that Sovereign was eyeing as much as £150 for the asset.

It initially backed the £34m MBO of WCL in 2008, although it is not clear how much of that was debt.

During Sovereign’s holding period the firm also acquired Madrid’s International College Spain and opened new schools in New York and Qatar, as well as investing £20m in WCL’s facilities, infrastructure and equipment.

Sovereign partner Kevin Whittle said, “Our investment approach has always been to find and work with the highest quality education providers.

“WCL has built an outstanding reputation for offering educational excellence and we are proud of the significant growth that the Group achieved during our period of ownership.

“As the British international schools market expands and expatriate communities throughout the world continue to grow, we look forward to seeing the Group flourish further.

“Sovereign remains a significant investor in the education and training services sector, partnering high quality management teams to deliver strong and robust growth.”

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