• Deal type Management Buyout
  • Sector Education and Training
  • Year 2016
  • Status realised
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RJD backed the management buyout of Babington in April 2016. The business is a leading provider of apprenticeships and workplace training, focusing on professional services courses. Our understanding of the training sector won us the deal.

Having tracked the sector for a number of years we had identified Babington as an attractive business owing to its focus on high value-add courses and the quality of its learner outcomes. Following a direct approach in 2015 we were ultimately successful in a limited auction sale process. The underlying market dynamics are strong, with support for apprenticeships high on the agenda of both the government and the private sector as they look to narrow the UK ‘skills gap’ and improve productivity.

RJD’s sector knowledge and awareness of the importance of learner outcomes and quality was crucial in securing the deal. From the outset we were highly impressed with the senior management team and we were able to structure a transaction which allowed them to take significant equity in the company whilst providing a full exit for the majority shareholder, a UK-based venture capital fund.

The Apprenticeship Levy (an annual charge of 0.5% on the payrolls of large corporates to be spent on apprenticeships) was introduced in April 2017. Since this time, Babington has continued to serve its established SME client base whilst at the same time achieving growth through delivery of apprenticeships nationwide to levy-paying customers on a recurring basis.

In October 2018, the previous CEO retired and David Marsh was appointed. David, who brought significant experience to Babington from elsewhere in the sector, has accelerated the penetration of larger corporates and has expanded Babington’s course offering in growing professional services sectors such as IT and Digital.

Since investing, RJD has also led the appointment of a Chairman, with strong commercial educational experience.