No official transaction value was announced but sources close to the deal place it at more than £100m for the business which Sovereign acquired in a £26m institutional buyout in 2002.
Ryan Robson, managing partner at Sovereign, said: “The Alpha Plus growth story is an excellent example of the benefits that Sovereign Capital’s buy and build strategy consistently brings to our portfolio companies and investors. Alongside management we have developed Alpha Plus into one of the UK’s most prestigious groups of independent schools where places are highly sought after by parents and children around the country. Our commitment to invest in the group over the last five years has been rewarded by an excellent return for our investors as we hand over to Delancey.”
Since the 2002 IBO, the group has increased the number of schools it owns from 11 to 17, from nursery school right up to 6th form, and has seen a 44% increase in pupil numbers to around 2,800 through both organic and acquisitive growth. There are two more schools in development.
Sovereign brought in Paul Brett, a former teacher and strategic director of Serco’s educational business, as CEO of Alpha, added Azhar Mobin, also a former teacher and head of education at the Audit Commission, as managing director, and appointed Roger Bird, a chartered accountant who was previously financial controller at Lidco, as financial controller.