National Education Group sought an investment partner to support its growth. Adam Bunch explains how we helped them make the right decision.

The rapid roll out of online and blended learning in the past 18 months is driving significant growth – schools and education institutions are opening up to new technologies to facilitate efficiency savings and improve performance. And we can see this in M&A activity. Strategic acquirers and financial sponsors are clearly acknowledging that this is a long-term shift.

One business shaping the future of the market by supporting schools with digital training and CPD is National Education Group (NEG). That’s why we wanted to help it partner with Synova Capital, which invested through a minority stake.

How is NEG supporting the education sector?

NEG delivers remote, expert-led, and engaging training and CPD through its three comprehensive content brands: The National College, National Online Safety, and Essential CPD. Learners access content through the National Hub, NEG’s intuitive software platform. This learning management system also supports schools’ wider training function.

NEG has rapidly increased its brand and reputation in the market, through its feedback-led digital approach to helping schools maintain compliance, and stay informed and safe. But to achieve its full potential the company’s shareholders wanted to secure a strong investment partner to help drive domestic and international expansion. That’s why they approached our expert team, and a select number of other advisers, for support in getting it right.

How NEG secured investment from Synova Capital

The entire process lasted six months, but by completing the detailed work upfront we ensured a straightforward and swift completion that benefited both partners.

To achieve this we worked closely with the shareholders through a detailed preparatory phase to put NEG in the best position to enter private equity negotiations. The preparation included:

  • reviewing financial accounts and management information
  • building a financial model
  • drafting an information memorandum.

We also supported the shareholders in commissioning and managing commercial, financial, IT, and political vendor due diligence, delivering a full suite of independent information and validation.

We then approached investors. NEG’s reputation and clear potential for growth attracted strong competition. Our sector knowledge and strong network enabled us to introduce management to interested investors with high potential. They eventually selected Synova because of its excellent track record of scaling high-growth education and subscription technology companies internationally.

The transaction was completed within two weeks from granting exclusivity. Throughout our work with the client, our team provided full-service support in financial modelling, tax advisory and debt advisory. Our debt team continues to work with both NEG and Synova to get the best result for their debt financing.

The Grant Thornton team delivered an outstanding result for NEG and its shareholders. They ran an extremely efficient process, from initial preparation through to completion. Their knowledge of the sector and their strong investor relationships were key to ensuring NEG was positioned in the right way to the best possible partners and their proactive approach limited the distractions on the management team. We were delighted with the outcome and would happily recommend the team.

Neil Gamewell, Co-founder and chief executive,
The National Education Group

Our team

NEG selected our experienced team because of our extensive knowledge of the education sector, full service offering, and technical expertise in preparing owner-managed businesses for private equity transactions. Our rigorous approach and commitment to excellence enable us to deliver the right support at your pace. This is what we can do for you:

  • lead advisory: expertise and in all aspects of merger and acquisition advice
  • financial modelling: detailed, fully integrated financial models
  • tax advisory: transaction and personal advice for shareholders
  • debt advisory: securing credit terms’ details from banks.

Other organisations we’ve worked with in the technology education sector include Thrive Online, Strictly Education, Isams, and eSafe Global. We’ve also helped wider education sector clients including Skills Training UK, The People Development Team, Cirrus Connect, the London Preschool, and UCAS.

For more information about our services, get in touch with Adam Bunch.
Adam.S.Bunch@uk.gt.com
+44 (0)20 7865 2763

This article is sponsored content.

Date published: 2 December 2021