From left: Fatima Essoufi, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at LMB; Emily Parker from Higgs; Sarah Steel, CEO of The Old Station Nursery; Geoff Kettle, Higgs

Member Article

Higgs & Sons advise as French nursery operator continues UK expansion

Specialist advisors from Higgs & Sons have acted for a major operator on a second multi-site acquisition within the UK childcare sector.

Following the purchase by La Maison Bleue (LMB) of The Old Station Nursery (OSN) earlier this year, the group has completed the purchase of Premier Nurseries, a leading childcare provider based in the Uxbridge and Iver area of Buckinghamshire.

LMB is one of the three largest players in the French childcare sector, the leader in Switzerland and the second largest player in Luxembourg. Back in February, the acquisition of The Old Station Nursery represented a first foothold in the UK market.

The purchase of Premier Nursery, for an undisclosed sum, is the next step in the group’s ambitious growth plans, as it strives to become a significant market player in the UK.

All staff members at Premier will be retained in the purchase.

Founded in 2004 by Sylvain Forestier and Antonia Ryckbosch – a childcare professional – La Maison Bleue has built a strong and innovative educational project, where the quality of childcare provided is of paramount importance. As such, nursery managers and staff work together to provide the best possible environment for children and encourage their development harmoniously, while respecting their own pace and providing them with the comfort and security needed to ensure their emotional balance LMB has a strong track-record in investing into its existing estate and new nurseries to grow its presence, as well as acquiring new businesses with a strategy to build partnerships. The main goal is to develop the acquired companies while allowing them to benefit from the synergies from being part of a leading network.

Fatima Essoufi, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at LMB, said: “We are very excited about the acquisition of Premier Nursery. Following on from our purchase of The Old Station Nursery group earlier this year, we’re delighted to further consolidate our position in the UK in collaboration with Sarah and the team at OSN.

“Higgs & Sons played a key role in facilitating this acquisition and making sure that all the legal aspects were covered and agreed to all parties’ satisfaction. Geoff, Susheel and the team were highly involved and provided excellent advice throughout the whole process. We are extremely delighted to be working with them and look forward to continuing our expansion with their valuable help.”

Sarah Steel, CEO of The Old Station Nursery, said: “We are delighted to continue our growth within the UK market, and the purchase of Premier Nursery represents another major development for our organisation. We have ambitious plans to expand in the UK and look forward to continuing our growth.

“Having worked with the team at Higgs & Sons previously, we turned to them again for their specialist sector-specific advice across a number of areas including corporate, tax and property matters.

“It is important to us that we have confidence in our advisors. Geoff, Susheel and the team at Higgs clearly demonstrated their knowledge of working in the Childcare sector as they have helped us continue to further our strategic UK development plans.”

Geoff Kettle, who heads up the Care team at Higgs & Sons, said: “It is extremely pleasing to complete another successful deal on behalf of LMB/OSN and we are delighted to be their legal partner in the UK and continue our ongoing relationship.”

Susheel Gupta, Relationship Manager for LMB and the Old Station Nursery Group added: “This was another complex deal requiring assistance from a number of advisors and we very much look forward to providing legal and business support on their continued UK expansion plans.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sam Taylor .

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