BGF successfully exits nursery group giant, Kids Planet
BGF has announced a highly successful exit of its investment in Kids Planet, the family-owned childcare business launched by award-winning entrepreneur Clare Roberts and her father John Hoban, in 2008.
Kids Planet has been acquired by Fremman Capital (Fremman), a pan-European mid-market investment firm. As part of the deal, BGF will re-invest alongside Fremman and continue to back the company as a minority shareholder.
BGF joined forces with Kids Planet in August 2016 providing £10 million of growth capital to support the business’ organic and acquisitive growth strategy. During the investment hold period, Kids Planet increased EBITDA from £3.5 million to £15 million, delivering a 3x MM on BGF’s initial investment.
Over the last five years, BGF has made a series of follow-on investments worth in excess of £30 million. The funding has supported a number of acquisitions which has expanded the roll-out of Kids Planet’s Day care centres and increased the regional footprint of the business across the North West and into the Midlands.
The new investment from Fremman and BGF will accelerate the national expansion of Kids Planet as it looks ahead to more acquisitions in the coming months. The management team will continue to drive the business forward in their roles, while the new investment will support further senior hires, including an M&A director, as well as ongoing recruitment across its settings. John Hoban will also reinvest in the business and continue in a non-executive role.
In many ways Kids Planet is unrecognisable from where we were five years ago. As a result of our partnership with BGF, we’ve scaled significantly, launched our own training academy and acquired one of our key competitors – all of which has allowed us to take the business to the next level. As a family-run business, it was important that we could make our own decisions so that quality wasn’t compromised. BGF has allowed us to do just that, providing growth capital and the business support needed to thrive.
Clare Roberts, Kids Planet Chief Executive
Pinesh Mehta investor at BGF and board director at Kids Planet, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have backed Clare and her team over the past five years, who have delivered some truly impressive milestones. The rate of growth and pace of the acquisition strategy has been outstanding, and we’re really honoured to have played a part in their story and success. We’re confident that following this latest investment, Kids Planet will continue to establish itself as the UK’s leading nursery group.”
Neil Inskip, head of BGF in the North West, added: “Kids Planet epitomises what BGF was set up to do: back brilliant businesses that are looking to scale. Over the last five years we have also been able to provide Kids Planet with several significant follow-on investments, which has enabled the business to meet its growth ambitions more quickly. The exit of our original investment has generated a high return on BGF’s capital and clearly demonstrates the high quality of entrepreneurs and businesses we are backing.”
Clare Roberts founded Kids Planet in 2008 after she struggled to find appropriate childcare following the birth of her first daughter. She quit her job in the pharmaceutical industry and launched Kids Planet alongside her father John Hoban, who had previously run and sold a successful nursery chain, and sister Lucy Kaczmarska. The business began with two nurseries in Warrington and Widnes.
The business is renowned for providing a market-leading quality of care. In March 2021, Kids Planet was ranked number 1 in the country for quality based on its Ofsted rankings by Nursery World. It has 82 sites and is responsible for the education of over 7,500 children, making it one of the largest nursery groups in the UK.
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