Tue, 28 Sep 2021 | BUSINESS SALE
Independent schools group Dukes Education has acquired The Kindergartens’ portfolio of ten nursery schools in London, as a period of strong dealmaking in the UK’s fragmented nursery and child education sector continues.
The Kindergartens was founded more than 30 years ago and has grown to around 500 pupils at its ten nurseries. Locations in the portfolio include Wandsworth, Clapham, Battersea, Notting Hill, Fulham and Kensington.
A discreet marketing campaign for the portfolio was run by Gerald Eve, following an introduction by VWV. The auction generated a significant amount of interest, with all of the nurseries within the portfolio having received an “Outstanding” rating from Ofsted.
As well as enjoying extremely strong reputations, the nurseries in the portfolio offered potential buyers immediate scale and profitability. Interested parties included established nursery and school operators, along with emerging market entrants.
The portfolio has ultimately been acquired by Dukes Education, London’s largest independent schools group. Despite only being founded by Chairman Aatif Hassan in 2015, Dukes Education has enjoyed rapid growth, with other recent acquisitions including Eaton House and Northwood Schools in South West London.
Commenting on the acquisition of The Kindergartens’ portfolio, Aatif Hassan said: “I am delighted The Kindergartens, a group of nurseries I have long admired, is joining the Dukes family. I believe their knowledge of, and commitment to, early-years education to be exemplary. In addition, many of our existing Dukes schools and nurseries already have strong relationships with the Kindergarten nurseries.”
“The Kindergartens will make a fantastic addition to the Dukes family and together we can continue our mission to set the gold standard for early-years education, in London and further afield.”
Carol Evelegh, who co-founded The Kindergartens with her late husband Philip, commented: “After 44 years of teaching in the state and independent sectors, in prep schools and in nursery schools, the time was right for a new challenge and so I took the decision to sell The Kindergartens.”
“It was always going to be difficult for me to ‘let go’ of a business Philip started and then we as a family had run. The Kindergartens has been a huge part of our lives and more than just a business to us – it was like an extended family.”
“Dukes Education has great leadership; I have no doubt that the nursery schools are in excellent hands and that The Kindergartens’ exceptional standards will be maintained.”
Gerald Eve Partner Morgan Allen added: “I could not be more pleased for Carol with this outcome, which will ensure her husband’s legacy will continue to flourish and grow under new ownership.”
“The sell-side deal team, which included Rob Collier and Simon Linnitt from VWV and Helen Cain from Mercer & Hole, worked tirelessly alongside Gerald Eve to ensure a smooth transition of the Company to its new owner.”
Read about more recent nursery acquisitions:
Property investor LXi REIT acquires portfolio of 23 nurseries in £34m deal
Nursery group acquires three sites as acquisition push gathers pace
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