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Oakley Capital unveils investment in ICP Education

Oakley Capital Investments’ liquid resources available for deployment estimated to be £180m

Oakley Capital announced on Tuesday that the Oakley Capital IV has agreed to invest in ICP Education Holding, a leading independent group of UK nurseries.

Oakley Capital Investment (OCI) is a listed investment trust that invests in the funds managed by Oakley Capital. Its indirect contribution via Fund IV will be £27m, while its liquid resources available for future deployment (including this transaction) are estimated to be £180m.

ICP Education is one of the largest nursery operators in the UK, serving nearly 6,000 children at 44 nurseries across England, predominantly in London and the South East.

“The group is one of the highest quality large nursery operators in England, with a third of nurseries rated Ofsted Outstanding and 98% rated Outstanding or Good,” Oakley Capital said in a statement.

In addition, last year ICP was ranked as the 14th Best Place to Work in the UK by Glassdoor, across all categories.

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ICP Education has achieved a strong track record of growth since its foundation. Enrolments were negatively impacted through UK COVID-19 lockdowns, however the business has quickly recovered to pre-COVID occupancy levels in recent months.

Stephen Booty, Executive Chair of ICP Education, commented: “We are very much looking forward to our partnership with Oakley, given their depth of experience as investors in Education. The team has a real appreciation of how important it is to be focused on providing the highest standards of quality care and early years education, and we are looking forward to working with them to realise our growth ambitions in the UK and internationally.”

Oakley is one of the most active investors in the European education sector. To date, platform investments in the sector have included Inspired Education, a leading global schools group; Schülerhilfe, Europe’s largest tutoring group; IU Group (formerly Career Partner Group), the largest and fastest growing university in Germany; ACE Education, a leading French university group; and Ocean Technologies Group, the leading provider of e-learning to the maritime industry. 

Peter Dubens, Managing Partner of Oakley Capital, commented: “Our experience investing in high-quality businesses within the Education sector has led us to identify the nursery sector as an attractive area which is enjoying sustained growth. We look forward to partnering with Stephen, Dominic and Clare, as they continue to grow one of the leading premium nursery groups in Europe.”

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