Bright Horizons for Essex nursery acquisition

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Bright Horizons has added another nursery to its portfolio - marking the latest instalment in a very lively year for sector acquisitions.

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Phoenix Day Nursery joins Bright Horizons

The Phoenix Day Nursery, based in Brentwood, Essex, has joined the company, bringing the total number of Bright Horizons settings to 215 in the UK and Ireland.

The Phoenix, rated outstanding in its two most recent Ofsted reports, was established by Janet Elnaugh in 2001, becoming a Forest School in 2010.

Mrs Elaugh, who is retiring, said, ‘Selling the nursery after 15 years was a very difficult decision to make and quite a complicated process.

‘I wish the new owners every success for the future.’

Karrina Lee, Senior Childcare Negotiator at broker Redwoods Dowling Kerr, said, ‘This is an outstanding setting with an excellent reputation, and I am pleased to have assisted Bright Horizons in enabling them to add another quality setting to their ever expanding portfolio.’

Earlier this month, Nursery World reported Bright Horizons’ acquisition of Little Unicorn Day Nurseries, a group of four nurseries in the capital.

The company operates more than 900 nurseries worldwide and offers in excess of 17,000 places in this country.

Bright Horizons, which acquired the Active Learning nursery group last summer, remains second in size to Busy Bees, which operates 257 settings in the UK.

Earlier in the summer, Busy Bees announced it had clinched the biggest deal in the sector this year, with the purchase of the Positive Steps group of eight settings, as reported by Nursery World.

Positive Steps provides more than 600 childcare places in Surrey, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Kent and it was reported earlier this year in Education Investor that the deal could be worth upwards of £25m.

That was the third group to have been acquired by Busy Bees in less than a year, following the buyout of seven-strong Bush Babies in May and Kids 1st's 11 nurseries last December.

Busy Bees now operates 266 nurseries in England, Scotland and Wales.

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