The sale process for GL Education, a British educational assessments provider owned by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP), has been put on hold, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

This publication has learnt from two sources that the process, which was launched at the beginning of the year and is run by Baird, has stalled and will be temporary suspended.

Ardian, which had presented the highest bid, above the asking price of around €500 million, was considered the frontrunner in the auction, as reported by this publication earlier this month.

The only other bidder that had progressed to the second round alongside Ardian was Bridgepoint, another private equity firm that owns several assets in the education sector.

Other financial sponsors that had previously shown interest in the acquisition and later abandoned the process included Omers, Cobepa, Cinven, Charterhouse, Carlyle, CVC and Riverside, as reported by Mergermarket.

The auction had also attracted several trade buyers, such as ICG-backed Supporting Education Group, pre-K12 software-as-a-service company Renaissance, which is owned by Francisco Partners, Blackstone and TPG, and educational software provider Curriculum Associates, as reported by this publication in February.

Established in 1981, GL provides educational assessments to measure children’s ability, track their progress in different subjects, and diagnose underlying factors affecting learning. Its tools are used by British, bilingual and international schools, as well as education ministries.

GL was acquired by LLCP from Bahrain-listed alternative investment firm Investcorp for around £210m in May 2016. The sale generated a 3x return and ended a four-year holding period for Investcorp, which had bought the company, at the time known as Granada Learning Group, from private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

Date published: 25 March 2022

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