Kindercare Group Limited acquired by Busy Bees Group in multi-million pound deal

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The Manchester office of Clearwater Corporate Finance, formerly Tenon Livingstone Guarantee, has advised Kindercare Group Limited, the Preston-based provider of nursery, after school and holiday care on its sale to the Lichfield-based Busy Bees Group.

It is the second nursery care provider that Clearwater Corporate Finance has sold to industry consolidator Busy Bees in the last 18 months following the sale of D&B Day Nurseries in November 2000. The deal takes the total investment in Busy Bees to £28 million.

With nine nurseries located in the Lancaster, Blackpool, Preston and Chorley areas, Kindercare is owned by fellow directors Stuart (43) and Sarah (44) Carr. The deal will see the Carrs make a substantial reinvestment in the enlarged business.

Stuart and Sarah Carr will be remaining with the company to continue growing the business for Gresham backed Busy Bees. They are also retaining the Preston-based Ashbridge School, a private school for 150 pupils that was previously part of the business.

Carl Houghton, partner at Clearwater Corporate Finance said this was an excellent deal for everyone. “This gives Busy Bees a huge step up in a rapidly changing market and the opportunity to almost double the size of their existing business. The deal also gives the Carr’s the opportunity to extract some value whilst still being able to share in the future growth of what all parties believe will be a very successful venture.”

Stuart and Sarah Carr added; “We started the business back in 1989 and have seen it grow at a considerable pace. We have sought to deliver high quality child-care and are delighted to still be very much involved in both the nursery business and Ashbridge School.

“This adds strength to both companies and provides marvellous opportunities for all staff in the enlarged group.”

With its headquarters in Ashton in Preston, Kindercare has nurseries in Preston, Chorley, Blackpool, Lancaster, Bamber Bridge, Lytham Land Registry, Lostock Hall, BAE Warton and BNFL Oakfield. It employs over 250 staff and has a turnover of £5 million.

The Clearwater Corporate Finance team included; partner Carl Houghton and manager Peter Lee. Peter Bibby and Alan Robins of Bolton-based Keoghs solicitors advised the vendors.

“The VC activity in this sector is really quite astonishing. Seven of the top 10 nursery chains in the UK are now backed by venture capitalists with further consolidation sure to follow,” added Clearwater’s Houghton.