02 August 2016 | Childcare & Education

Christie & Co sells Positive Steps nursery group to Busy Bees

Christie & Co is delighted to announce the sale of Positive Steps Children’s Day Nurseries Ltd – an established group of eight impressive childcare settings and one development site with planning consent for day nursery use – to Busy Bees Childcare, one of the UK’s leading childcare operators.

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The portfolio is one of the most highly-acclaimed in the South East and operates with a total effective operating capacity for 619 children. All of the nurseries are located in prime sought after trading locations around London and the surrounding counties.

Courteney Donaldson, Head of Childcare & Education and Nick Brown, Associate Director of Christie & Co were instructed to engage a highly-confidential process to a target list of well-financed buyers over an initial six week period. As anticipated, this opportunity drew substantial levels of interest from a wide range of prospective buyers including national and regional operators, private equity investors, overseas providers and a number of high net worth individuals.

Nick Brown, an Associate Director in Christie & Co’s Corporate Childcare team said, “We were delighted to be engaged by the owner Paul Clarke in respect of this exciting opportunity. We were given a clear remit to maximise the value of this unique and valuable combination of both leasehold and freehold properties.  Alongside maximising value and achieving the best possible price, and transaction terms, it was of paramount importance to our client that the new owner would share and continue with the Positive Steps ethos of providing high quality childcare in a nurturing environment to all children, families and employees and we are pleased to have met this objective.

“It is extremely rare for a privately owned group of this size and calibre to come to market. The knowledge and experience which Christie & Co as a company we were able to provide and our intimate knowledge of buyer behaviour enabled us to achieve a sale which was a perfect fit for all parties concerned.”

Paul Clarke, former owner of Positive Steps Nurseries Ltd commented “After 16 years building our nursery business, we have decided that now is the right time to hand over the reins to a new custodian who can continue our good work. On 29th July we completed the sale of Positive Steps to Busy Bees.

“As you can imagine, we were very precious about who we sold the business to, and I am confident that in Busy Bees we have chosen the ideal partner to continue the Positive Steps ethos. During our recent dealings with them they have been at pains to preserve those things that have made Positive Steps so special.

“The past 16 years have been an incredible journey and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. As I have always said, Positive Steps  biggest asset is its teamwork – staff, parents, the management team and of course the children. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all for their contributions and wish them very best for the future.

“These are exciting times and I will watch with pride as the business continues to go from strength to strength under its new owners.

"I would like to thank Courteney Donaldson and Nick Brown, our agents at Christie & Co, for their advice, guidance and support throughout this transaction. Leading up to my decision to sell the business I carefully researched potential advisors, including Business Agents and Corporate Finance houses transaction teams. Speaking with other former nursery group owners also, Courteney and her team were very highly recommended.

 “Having worked with Christie & Co very closely during this sale, it was quickly evident why their services are so highly acclaimed. Courteney and Nick have given me valuable advice and guidance from the outset and right through to the completion of this transaction. Their experience in day nursery business sales shone through the entire process and their project leadership and 24/7 approach to driving the transaction processes, facilitated this very successful sale. If other Nursery business owners are contemplating the sale of their business, I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending that Courteney and her dedicated specialist team at Christie & Co should be your first port of call as the markets leading advisors.”