19 June 2017
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.