The UK’s largest chain has acquired the nine nurseries and one school owned by Mace Montessori in London, which provides places for 745 children.
Established in 2005, when founder Shahid Hamid opened the group’s first setting in Russell Square, Mace Montessori originally expanded by converting pre-existing sites in the capital, later focusing on acquiring existing settings, such as Fortune Green Nursery in West Hampstead.
The group’s owners asked Christie & Co to provide an exit strategy for shareholders, with the business property adviser confidentially introducing Mace Montessori to a pool of potential buyers.
Busy Bees, which operates around 350 settings in the UK, as well as around 150 nurseries in Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and China, providing more than 50,000 childcare places worldwide, was eventually named the successful purchaser.
The group is majority-owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Christie & Co said one of the most attractive features for prospective buyers was Mace Montessori’s bespoke IT management system, which provides each nursery manager with a parents’ portal, information on education, incident management and budgets, and allows the senior management team to oversee the business remotely.
Nick Brown, Christie & Co regional director and head of Brokerage for Childcare, said, ‘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.’
HRC Law acted as advisors for Mace Montessori Nursery Schools.
Shahid Hamid, founder of Mace Montessori Schools, said, ‘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 complementary 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.’