Image from Eduservices’ website

Eduservices, a higher education specialist backed by private equity firms Capza, Parquest and Amundi, has acquired a majority stake in digital learning provider L’École Française for an EV of under €100m, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

The sale of L’École Française was launched in March 2021, when the company mandated Alantra to find a buyer. According to press reports, the business was marketed off an EBITDA of €20-30 million, at a valuation in the €300 million region.

However, according to two of our sources, the company’s EBITDA decreased following the pandemic to around €8 million and the EV did not meet previous price expectations.

“While it benefitted from its digital learning business model during the lockdown, the company has struggled to maintain its customer base after the worst of the pandemic was over and has been affected by higher costs,” a source close to the process told this publication.

Following the deal, L’École Française’s co-founders and managers Thibault Viguier and Guillaume Caillot will retain a minority stake and stay on with the business.

Established in 2016, L’École Française offers 27 online training courses and professional certifications in various fields such as business management, IT, real estate brokerage, languages and communication.

The buyer, Eduservices, is a provider of private higher and technical education in e-commerce, communication, tourism, hospitality, IT, sports, design and audiovisual through its brands Ipac Bachelor Factory, ISCOM, MBway, MyDigitalSchool, Pigier, StudioM, Ecole Internationale Tunon and Win. The company counts 30,000 students and manages 30 schools across France.

Capza initially invested in Eduservices in 2016 via its Flex Equity fund and exited the investment in 2019, when Parquest and Amundi entered the company’s share capital.

Subsequently, Capza backed the business in October 2021 via its mid-cap-dedicated fund Capza Expansion, investing alongside Parquest and Amundi. The GPs bought a minority stake, while the company’s management and founding family retained the majority holding. Eduservices generated annual revenue of €192 million in 2021.

Date published: 29 March 2022

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