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  • Status: Realised
  • Date: 2002–2007
  • Sector:
    • Education & Training
  • Location: UK
  • Buy & Build: 6

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Alpha Plus Group

Alpha Plus is one of the UK's most prestigious private education providers. During its five-year partnership with Sovereign the Group grew to operate 17 schools, colleges and nurseries, whilst pupil capacity expanded by 1,100 and pupil numbers rose by 44% to 2,800.

Investment Background

Seventy years after Davies, Laing and Dick (DLD) was founded, the second, third and fourth generation shareholders agreed it was time to sell the 11-strong education group.

The last executive shareholder on the board was coming up for retirement. The family wanted a buyer who could take the group forward while retaining its essence and integrity, enhance the group to see their hopes for it fulfilled, and who would not break the group up. They chose Sovereign. Four months after the initial conversations, the transaction was completed both quickly and discreetly.

Value Creation

  • Grew organically and through acquisition from 11 to 17 schools, colleges and nurseries
  • Pupil numbers increased by 44%
  • Pupil capacity increased by 1,100 places to meet demand
  • Enhanced the senior management team to address succession planning

The Alpha Plus Growth Story

With schools including Wetherby, Pembridge Hall, Abingdon House and The Falcons, Sovereign recognised the quality of the schools and wanted to build upon it. With a clear strategy of creating value through Buy & Build, Alpha Plus Group was established.

To support the highly regarded head teachers at the schools, Sovereign strengthened Alpha Plus' senior management team.

Under Sovereign's ownership, Alpha Plus became one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK, seeing a 44% increase in pupil numbers to 2,800 at exit, through both organic and acquisitive growth.

Sovereign invested heavily in people, premises and IT. Developments included:

  • opening the newly created Wetherby Preparatory School and a Special Educational Needs school at Abingdon House
  • the acquisitions of Cliff & Silverwood Schools, Minors and Davenport Lodge
  • new buildings for DLD College and three of the Abbey Colleges
  • the creation of the Best Practice Network.

At the end of Sovereign's period of investment in 2017, Alpha Plus had grown to operate 17 schools, colleges and nurseries.

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