Stonepeak backs private schools; 40 under 40; L Catterton scores with Kodiak Cakes

Stonepeak bets on education.

Good morning, Hubsters. MK Flynn here with the Wire.

Let’s start with a deal that regards education is an essential piece of infrastructure. I couldn’t agree more.

Private education. Stonepeak, a New York-based alternative investment firm specializing in infrastructure and real assets, is investing €1 billion ($1.06 billion) in London-based Inspired Education Group.

Founded in 2013 by Nadim M Nsouli, Inspired is a co-educational, non-denominational, international provider of private schools. The company currently educates more than 55,000 students from kindergarten to year 13 across a global group of over 70 premium schools in 20 countries on five continents.

“We believe there is a vast need for investment in essential social infrastructure that supports innovation and productivity around the world and view education as a critical part of the equation,” added Stonepeak senior managing director James Wyper. “We look forward to identifying additional areas of investment opportunity where we believe we can make an impact within social infrastructure and to partnering with Inspired as the team advances its mission and growth ambitions in the years to come.”

Wyper told Financial Times that the deal represents a significant minority investment in the company. It marks the first in a number of investments the firm is considering making in private education. Inspired and other corporate operators of private schools, such as Nord Anglia, Cognita and GEMS, are “tapping into demand from both expatriates and a rising domestic middle class in fast-emerging economies,” FT points out.

Rising stars. Thirteen dealmakers are among those identified in Private Equity International’s 40 under 40: Future Leaders of Private Equity, class of 2022. Published earlier today, the annual list celebrates emerging talent in the asset class, highlighting individuals set to play a leading role in the market in the years ahead.

Among those recognized is Christine Wang, 35, who made partner at Francisco Partners in January. Since joining FP in 2015, Wang has led or supported 10 platform investments and more than 15 add-on acquisitions for the firm, where she focuses on tech and software. She has also been instrumental in an array of complex carve-outs and strategic acquisitions, reports PEI. Recent examples include the acquisition of e-commerce retailer RugsUSA, education software companies BARBRI and Follett School Solutions, as well as management technology company Vendavo. In addition to serving on the board of directors for seven tech companies, Wang acts as a mentor and sponsor for colleagues across FP.

Read about all the dealmakers honored here.

And read the full coverage here.

Agribusiness. Also earlier today, our affiliated pub Agri Investor announced its inaugural Annual Awards. The awards recognize the managers, investors and innovators who pushed the boundaries in agriculture and had an excellent year in their respective fields across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Agribusiness Deal of the Year went to L Catterton’s May 2021 acquisition of Kodiak Cakes, a Park City, Utah-based brand focused on healthy and sustainable offerings. The deal, “reflected the durability of private equity interest in efforts to meet growing demand for healthy food,” said Agri Investor.

Here’s more from the award writeup:
“This deal was reportedly valued between $500 million and $750 million and will clear the way for consumer-focused investment veteran L Catterton to continue a growth plan devised by Sunrise Strategic Partners, which first invested in Kodiak Cakes in 2016 and will retain an ownership stake. Backed by luxury goods provider LVMH and an investment vehicle tied to its founder Bernard Arnault, L Catterton’s strategy focuses on brands and platforms associated with travel and leisure experiences. Food and ag-related investments from the Greenwich, Connecticut-headquartered firm have included Spanish casual dining restaurant Goiko, Velvet Taco and Mendocino Farms, a casual dining restaurant providing gourmet and classic sandwiches.

For full coverage of the awards, click here.

That’s all for today. Chris Witkowsky will write tomorrow’s newsletter, so I’ll “see” you on Thursday.