Canadian private equity firm Onex has sold its majority stake in Dutch childcare provider Partou to minority shareholder Waterland Private Equity.

Waterland set up a special fund to structure the deal and transferred both its shares and the shares acquired from Onex to this new vehicle.

The fund has a sustainability focus and is an Article 8 ESG fund that complies with the European rules of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), according to Waterland.

“Waterland’s new fund fits well with this next phase of our organisation, which fulfils an important societal role,” said Jeanine Lemmens, chief executive of Partou. “I am grateful to the departing investor Onex for their support and trust in the past years and look forward to the continued cooperation with the Dutch Waterland.”

Partou has 700 branches and around 9,000 employees in the Netherlands, providing care to more than 60,000 children.

In 2019, Partou merged with KidsFoundation, a nursery operator owned by Onex, forming one of the largest European childcare providers. The deal saw Waterland acquire a minority stake for an undisclosed sum, while Onex became the main shareholder of the combined business buying out Partou’s former sponsor Navitas Capital.

Onex had acquired KidsFoundation in 2018, investing approximately $172 million, which included capital from its two funds Onex Partners IV and Onex Partners V.

Date Published: 17 May 2022

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