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GL Education

June 2016
UK & Ireland, £100m - £500m

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (“LLCP”), has partnered with management to acquire GL Education (“GL Education”), a leading London based provider of educational assessments in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Liberty Corporate Finance provided management advice to Greg Watson, CEO, Rob Dargue, CFO and the wider management team.

GL Education, founded in 1981, is a leading provider of educational assessments globally. The company’s integrated suite of assessments is used to measure children’s ability, track their progress in key subjects, and diagnose underlying factors affecting learning. GL Education’s tests are used by more than three million pupils every year in British, bilingual and international schools, as well as by education ministries, providing valuable insights to students, schools and global education systems alike.

Investcorp acquired GL Education in 2012 and has overseen an extensive transformation in the company, redefining GL Education’s market by moving from a mainly paper-based product business to a digital, bundled solutions business model and driving international growth across the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Significant organic growth has been complemented by a successful acquisition strategy. GL Education acquired the international rights to the Cognitive Abilities Test in 2013, allowing it to expand its most popular assessment series into a global offering.

In 2014 it acquired The Test Factory to significantly enhance its digital capabilities and in 2015 it acquired Lucid Research to expand its product offering in the area of special educational needs.

Greg Watson commented:

“We are very excited about partnering with LLCP as we seek to further strengthen our market position, particularly internationally, by supporting students in their learning, schools in their teaching, and global education systems as they become more sophisticated.  LLCP has a long history of being a value-added partner to its portfolio companies through their strategic, financial and M&A expertise, and I value their presence in the United States and experience in the UK education sector.  I expect our partnership to contribute meaningfully to the continued growth of our business.”

Regarding working with Liberty Corporate Finance, Greg added:

"The skill and experience of Mick McDonagh and his team were invaluable to GLE's management in a fast-moving and competitive sale process. Despite the time pressure, they combined close attention to detail with a good-humoured pragmatism that achieved an outstanding result whilst still ensuring a win-win for everyone involved."