London – Bregal Investments (“Bregal”) and CVC Capital Partners (“CVC”) announced today that funds managed by Bregal Capital LLP and advised by EMK Capital LLP (“EMK”) have agreed to sell QA, the UK’s leading provider of IT education and skills, to CVC Fund VI. QA’s management team will retain a significant stake in the company. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Under the leadership of CEO, William Macpherson, QA has developed organically and through strategic acquisitions, helping more than 5,000 corporate and public sector clients meet their increasing IT and business skills requirements. QA operates across a number of verticals: QA Learning, its professional training business; QA Apprenticeships, its work-based apprenticeship business; QA Consulting, its technology skills solutions business; and QA Higher Education, providing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
William Macpherson, CEO of QA said: “Over the last 10 years QA has expanded rapidly to become the UK’s leading IT education and skills provider. This success has been achieved through the hard work of our employees and a deep partnership with Edmund Lazarus and his team. This relationship has helped steer QA’s significant development and enabled us to deliver innovative skills and talent solutions to our customers. Together with Bregal/EMK we have achieved exceptional growth, and I am looking forward to forging an equally successful partnership with CVC. Their record of supporting expansion, together with their UK and international reach provides QA with a significant platform for success as we seek to execute our ambitious growth plans.”
Edmund Lazarus, formerly Managing Partner at Bregal Capital and now Managing Partner at EMK said: “We acquired QA in 2007 with c.£2m of EBITDA in our first year of ownership. Today the company’s run rate EBITDA is over £50m. This is a remarkable achievement. William Macpherson, QA’s CEO since 2008, and his team are exceptional. We would like to thank them for the tremendous partnership we have enjoyed over nearly ten years. While the terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, QA will rank as one of the very best investments of its vintage. We are delighted that having thrived under our ownership QA can now continue to grow with a partner of the scale of CVC who shares our commitment to building businesses which lead in their markets. We look forward to watching QA reach ever greater heights in the years ahead.”
Steve Black, Co-CEO of Bregal Investments said: “We are delighted with the successful exit of QA. We wanted to thank Edmund and William as well as the EMK and the QA teams for their professionalism, hard work and dedication over a long period of time. Bregal funds seek to build leading mid-market companies. QA’s success, both as a company and in terms of returns to our investors is a great example of what we aim to achieve.”
Richard Blackburn, Managing Director at CVC, said: “We are delighted to have agreed for CVC Fund VI to acquire QA. William and his team have built a very high quality business, which is a clear leader in rapidly-growing markets, helping with the vital task of enhancing technology and business skills across the UK workforce. We look forward to working together to continue QA’s track record of success.”
Barclays Bank has underwritten 100% of the debt financing for the transaction.
Mark Godfrey, Head of Marketing
Tel: +44 7721 260 372
EMK Capital LLP
Edmund Lazarus, Managing Partner
Tel: +44 20 7 591 4213
CVC Capital Partners
Tel: +44 20 7404 5959
About QA Group
QA is the UK’s leading learning organisation providing training, consultancy, apprenticeships and post graduate degrees on a range of technical, business and leadership subjects. With over 22 UK training centres, including their Apprenticeships and Consulting Academies, coupled with a range of online learning options, QA offer an unparalleled set of learning solutions to both private and public sector organisations.
About EMK Capital
EMK Capital LLP is an independent private equity firm, established to continue the investment track record of Edmund Lazarus (previously Founder and Managing Partner of Bregal Capital) and Mark Joseph (previously Founder and Partner at Oakley Capital Private Equity) and to continue to manage portfolio companies of Bregal Capital. EMK is focused on investing in businesses with unrecognised and/or hard to realise value and where EMK can support management teams in executing transformative change. The firm closed its first fund in May 2017 at its hard cap of £575 million. For further information about EMK please visit: www.emkcapital.com
About Bregal Investments
Bregal Investments is a global private equity firm which has over US $10 billion in invested or committed capital. The firm invests through several dedicated funds including: Bregal Freshstream, a UK and Benelux focused middle market private equity fund, Bregal Unternehmerkapital, Equity Capital for mid-sized companies in German-speaking Europe, Bregal Partners, a North American middle market private equity fund, Bregal Energy, an Energy-focused private equity fund, Bregal Sagemount, a U.S. private equity fund for growth companies, Bregal Private Equity Partners, a global investor in private equity funds and secondaries. For further information about Bregal please visit www.bregal.com
About CVC Capital Partners
CVC Capital Partners is a leading private equity and investment advisory firm. Founded in 1981, CVC today has a network of 23 offices and approximately 400 employees throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S. To date, CVC has secured commitments of more than US$88 billion from some of the world’s leading institutional investors across its European and Asian private equity, strategic opportunities and growth funds. In total, CVC currently manages over US$50 billion of assets. Today, funds managed or advised by CVC are invested in 52 companies worldwide, employing c.250,000 people in numerous countries. Together, these companies have combined annual sales of over US$80 billion. For further information about CVC please visit: www.cvc.com