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29 May 2018 | Childcare & Education

Christie & Co sell leading London nursery group

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co has completed on the sale of Mace Montessori Nursery Schools, an impressive portfolio of nine day nurseries and a school, providing an effective operating capacity for 745 children located within high profile sought after areas around Central London. The nursery group has been acquired by leading international childcare provider, Busy Bees.

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Christie & Co was approached by the owners to provide advice on a potential exit strategy for the shareholders. Over the years, the group has grown via the development of sites where buildings have been identified and then converted to provide ideal environments for the large numbers of children that attend each setting. Mace Montessori’s organic development programme has been complimented more recently by the acquisition of existing settings, further accelerating the growth of the portfolio. The company’s growth strategies culminated in the creation of a market leading business which was very highly sought after when confidentially introduced to a carefully selected pool of potential purchasers.

One of the most attractive features of this established group, in addition to prime locations, quality and earnings, was the unique and bespoke IT management system, which provides each nursery manager with in depth information and targets of their respective setting covering education, commercial, KPIs incident management, parent portal and school budgets. This IT management system’s visibility and controls have enabled the senior management team to oversee and manage the business remotely, which awarded them with the opportunity to focus on fine-tuning operational performance and strategic business planning and development.

Shahid Hamid, founder of Mace Montessori Schools comments, “Conceiving our company in 2005 with one school, the last 13 years building the group to 10 schools has been our absolute privilege. To future proof the business, the careers created for the staff, service we provide to parents and outstanding outcomes for children we approached Christie & Co, to help us achieve our goal in selling the business for a complimentary value to the quality it provides in the current market. They were able to provide access to numerous buyers who then progressed to make significant offers for our business all in a highly confidential manner. We were delighted to agree a deal with Busy Bees and we believe they are the ideal company to continue to see the company grow and go from strength to strength. We would like to wish all of our staff and parents all the best for the future.”

Cornel Riklin, Partner at Caphaven and investor in Mace Montessori Schools said, “It was great to be involved with Mace during the last six years and be able to work with Shahid and the team supporting the development and growth of the business. Through both new school openings and acquisitions Mace has grown from a small operation into a professionally managed group of schools with ten prime London locations. Today it provides excellent care and education for over 700 children. We thank Christie & Co for running a well-managed process and are pleased to hand the business to Busy Bees for the next stage of its growth and development.”

Courteney Donaldson, Managing Director– Childcare & Education comments, “We were incredibly excited when the shareholders of Mace Montessori Nursery Schools asked for our assistance to facilitate a staged sale of their portfolio. Having recently achieved market setting premiums on a number of portfolio sales during 2018, we were incredibly confident that with our bespoke approach and international pool of potential buyers, we would be able to achieve a price surpassing our client’s expectations. Through a structured timetabled process, we were delighted to present multiple second round bids from which our clients selected Busy Bees as their preferred purchaser, principally on the basis of having aligned cultures, values, a shared vision and commitment to delivering the highest standards of quality across the early years provision.” 

Nick Brown, Regional Director and Head of Brokerage – Childcare comments, “It has been a delight working for the owners of Mace. They should be very proud of what they have achieved since opening their first setting in Russell Square in 2005. Over the years, this group has grown into one of the area’s leading independent childcare providers, boasting an annual fee income of circa £8m. Through a highly competitive confidential process, we were able to introduce numerous buyers both from the UK and further afield. This all resulted in a number of exceptional offers being received and a deal being agreed with Busy Bees.”