School’s out as Cog­nita plans £2bn sale

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front Page - By Ben Mar­low

AN IN­TER­NA­TIONAL pri­vate schools op­er­a­tor is be­ing lined up for a £2bn sale or stock mar­ket float by its Wall Street back­ers.

Talks with po­ten­tial buy­ers are ex­pected to start soon, City sources said. Pri­vate equity giant KKR has ap­pointed in­vest­ment banks Goldman Sachs and Bar­clays to sound out bid­ders for Cog­nita, which is based in Milton Keynes. Founded in 2004 with a sin­gle school – Quin­ton House, in Northamp­ton – the com­pany com­prises 68 pri­vate schools in eight coun­tries, in­clud­ing Bri­tain, Spain, South America and south-east Asia, with more than 35,000 stu­dents world­wide.

Its UK schools also in­clude Hud­der­s­field Gram­mar and South­bank In­ter­na­tional in South Kens­ing­ton.

A con­sor­tium led by Cana­dian Pen­sion Plan In­vest­ment Board and Bar­ing Pri­vate Equity Asia is among suit­ors. The pair own a rival busi­ness called Nord Anglia Ed­u­ca­tion. GEMS Ed­u­ca­tion, backed by Black­stone, is also un­der­stood to be in­ter­ested.

How­ever, if in­ter­est is thin on the ground then it could pur­sue a pub­lic list­ing.

KKR, co-led by bil­lion­aires Henry Kravis and Ge­orge Roberts, in­vested in the school group in 2013, along­side Bre­gal Cap­i­tal.

Cog­nita is run by Chris Jansen, the for­mer boss of the AA.

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