Kids Planet sells majority stake to investment firm allowing successful exit for BGF

Clare Roberts, CEO of Kids Planet

Investment firm Fremman has acquired a majority stake in BGF-backed Kids Planet to support its rapid growth.

The nursery chain, mostly clustered around the Liverpool and Manchester area (with a recent expansion to Oxford), was established in 2008 by Clare Roberts and her father John Hoban, in response to Clare’s own challenges of finding flexible childcare.

With 82 sites, responsible for the education of over 7,500 children, Kids Planet is the largest independent private operator of nurseries in the UK, and third largest operator overall.

Since BGF’s partnership began in 2016, CEO Clare Roberts has seen BGF’s funding support a number of acquisitions, expanding the roll-out of Kids Planet’s sites from 17 to more than 80, increasing the regional footprint of the business across the North West and into the Midlands.

Over the last five years, BGF has made a series of follow-on investments worth in excess of £30m and Kids Planet’s EBITDA has increased five-fold during in the investment hold period.

The deal sees BGF generate a 3x MM on its original investment.

The new investment from Fremman will support the acceleration of Kids Planet’s national expansion, further senior hires, and ongoing recruitment across its settings.

Clare Roberts, CEO of Kids Planet, said: “In many ways Kids Planet is unrecognisable from where we were five years ago.

“With our BGF partnership, 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.

“We have continued with an unwavering commitment to providing an outstanding level of childcare, as a matter of priority, which has been key to our success.

“There is significant opportunity in the market right now for acquisitions and for recruiting as we continue to scale. With renewed investment, we look forward to working with Fremman, and replicating our success in further regions across the UK.”

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.”

Ricardo de Serdio, Founding Partner and CEO at Fremman, added “We are absolutely delighted with the opportunity ahead, and look forward to partnering with Clare and the Kids Planet team.”

Buy-side advisors included: KPMG (M&A, Financial and Tax), Cairneagle (Commercial), DLA (Legal), Deloitte (Debt).

Sell-side advisors included: EY (M&A and Commercial), PwC (Financial), Pinsent Masons (Legal).