Babington

  • Deal type Management Buyout
  • Sector Education and Training
  • Year 2016
  • Status current
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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 apprenticeship market is set for a period of strong growth as both the government and the private sector look to narrow the UK ‘skills gap’ and improve productivity, manifested in the Apprenticeship Levy,  an annual 0.5% charge on the payrolls of large corporates in the UK to commence in April 2017 to be spent on apprenticeships.

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 Carole Carson (CEO) and Adrian Fantham (CFO) and we were able to structure a transaction which allowed them, and senior management, to take significant equity in the company whilst providing a full exit for the majority shareholder, a UK-based venture capital fund.

At the time of RJD’s investment Babington operated 10 training centres in the UK, mainly in the Midlands and North. The business plan sees a significant expansion of this footprint to facilitate national coverage as well as increased penetration of larger corporates, expansion of the course offering and investment in the business’ high growth e-learning platform. Since investing, RJD have led the appointment of a chairman, with strong commercial educational experience, and a commercial director, who will drive the business’ engagement with larger corporates in line with the business plan. This additional depth in the management team will allow the business to capitalise on the substantial opportunities developing in the UK education and training market.