Higher education provider ACE Education Group, a portfolio company of private equity firm Oakley Capital, has acquired French fashion school EIDM.

The acquisition of EIDM will enable ACE to further diversify its business and expand its scope to the fashion and luxury industry, according to a statement.

Based in Paris, EIDM offers students a range of specialised programmes from Bachelor’s to Master’s, as well as professional diplomas that can lead to a career in global fashion houses including Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. The school has quadrupled its student enrolments over the last three years, according to the company.

ACE is a diversified higher education group with 30 campuses and over 5,000 students. Led by chief executive Sylvestre Louis, the business operates under four brands: AMOS, a French sports management business school; ESBS, a sports management school based in Valencia, Spain; ESDAC, a French design school group; and CMH, an international luxury hospitality and tourism school.

Oakley initially invested in the business in 2017 when it acquired sports management school AMOS via its Oakley Capital Private Equity III fund. Subsequently, the company expanded via three bolt-on acquisitions and five new campus openings.

In June 2021, Oakley sold the stake owned in the business via its third fund and injected  around €40 million in the company through its Origin Fund, investing alongside Groupe Amaury and ACE’s founder Patrick Touati. The exit generated a gross return of around 2.1x and a 27% IRR to Oakley third fund’s investors.

“We’re pleased to see ACE deliver on its buy-and-build strategy as we further diversify and grow the business to become one of Europe’s leading higher education platforms,” said Oakley Capital founder and managing partner Peter Dubens. “We continue to see strong demand for specialised higher education programmes, which ACE provides across its schools and campuses. Luxury and fashion is an exciting vertical to add and neatly complements its existing specialisations such as arts and design.”

Date Published: 17 May 2022

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