Partners Group will acquire a majority stake in Guardian Early Learning Group from Navis Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. Guardian operates a network of early learning centers across Australia. As part of the deal, Cyrus Driver, Partners Group managing director and head of Asian private equity, will join Guardian’s board.
Partners Group, the global private markets investment manager, has agreed to acquire a
controlling stake in Guardian Early Learning Group (“Guardian”), one of the largest childcare
groups and providers of early childhood education in Australia, on behalf of its clients. The stake is
being acquired from the Asian private equity firm Navis Capital Partners. The transaction gives
Guardian an enterprise value of approximately AUD 440 million and is expected to close in the
first quarter of this year.
Founded in 2004, Guardian today owns 71 early learning centers that provide more than 10’000
families and their children with high-quality early learning and care on a daily basis. In addition to
its local community centers, Guardian is Australia’s leading provider of company-sponsored
childcare centers, providing the staff of some of the country’s leading corporations with on- or
near-site care for their children. Guardian is also developing, designing and constructing ten new
childcare centers, which will become operational over the next 12 months.
Following the investment, Partners Group will draw on its long track record of investment in the
childcare and education sectors globally to support the Guardian management team’s growth
aspirations for the business as it continues to expand its network of centers.
Tom Hardwick, the founder and CEO of Guardian, comments: “We are thrilled to welcome
Partners Group as our new majority shareholder – it is a real honor that a global investment group
with the prestige, size and experience of Partners Group has chosen to back our vision to grow
the size and quality of our business. We are looking forward to working with Partners Group to
pursue our business objectives and in the process enhance the quality of the early learning and
care experience we provide to families in the communities we serve.”
Cyrus Driver, Managing Director and Head Private Equity Asia, Partners Group, will join the
Board of Guardian once the transaction completes. He states: “Early childhood has been proven
to be a crucial stage for a child’s learning and development and innovators like Guardian provide
an essential service in society. With its strong reputation, Guardian has a great opportunity to
continue its robust growth and provide more children across Australia with the benefits of highquality
early-years education. We look forward to working with Tom and his management team.”
In the past decade, Partners Group has made over 15 direct investments in education-related
businesses including Permotio (ISP), Busy Bees, Nord Anglia and Grupo Santillana, AcadeMedia
and Nobel Learning, the last of which was exited in 2015 at a gross return of approximately 4x
cost. Most recently, in August 2015, Partners Group acquired KinderCare Education, the largest
for-profit provider of early childhood education in the US and the parent company of KinderCare
About Partners Group
Partners Group is a global private markets investment management firm with over EUR 46 billion
(USD 50 billion) in investment programs under management in private equity, private real estate,
private infrastructure and private debt. The firm manages a broad range of customized portfolios
for an international clientele of institutional investors. Partners Group is headquartered in Zug,
Switzerland, and has offices in San Francisco, Houston, New York, São Paulo, London, Guernsey,
Paris, Luxembourg, Milan, Munich, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney.
The firm employs over 800 people and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (symbol: PGHN) with a
major ownership by its partners and employees.