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Exclusive: Oakley Capital backs Affinitas Education

Private equity firm Oakley Capital has invested in Affinitas Education, a new platform launched to make acquisitions in the K-12 sector, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

This publication has learnt that Affinitas has been recently established and is currently looking at a couple of targets that it plans to acquire in the coming months.

The company will work with owners and operators of international and bilingual K-12 schools, providing them with capital and support to further expand and grow.

Oakley Capital built a similar platform in 2013, when it backed Educas, an international vehicle established to acquire premium private schools. Educas later became Inspired Education, one of the largest and most successful premium schools operators in the sector. Oakley exited the business through partial sales in 2017 and 2019 and subsequently by selling its remaining interest in 2020.

Affinitas will be led by Victor Lundsten, the founder, who was vice president acquisitions and business development at Inspired, this publication understands. Clarissa Farr, who also worked for Inspired in the past, has been appointed as chair and Sam Fenton-Whittet, a partner at Oakley Capital who specialises in deals across the education industry, will be a non-executive director in the business.

Oakley’s portfolio includes several other assets in the education sector, such as IU Group (formerly Career Partner Group), a provider of higher education and personnel development in Germany. The business has been under the tenure of the private equity house since 2017, when Oakley acquired a stake of around 79% from Apollo Education Group. Rumours of a possible sale started to circulate in 2020 and it is possible that the business will come to market this year.

Oakley also owns ICP Education, an operator of nurseries in the UK, which was acquired in June 2021, and Schülerhilfe, a provider of after-school tutoring across Germany and Austria, bought in July 2017.

Last year, the firm sold its stake in higher education platform ACE Education, which it owned via its third fund, and reinvested in the business through a different vehicle, Oakley Capital Origin Fund. The exit generated a 2.1x gross return and a 27% IRR for Oakley’s third fund. ACE Education has recently acquired French fashion school EIDM.

Oakley Capital declined to comment.

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