Exit: Quadriga Capital sells Aspire Education to EMZ Partners

Photo: Wolf­ram Schmerl Mana­ging Part­ner of ALANTRA in Frank­furt a. M.
20. Decem­ber 2022

Frank­furt — Quadriga Capi­tal sells Aspire Educa­tion to EMZ Part­ners. Aspire’s manage­ment will take a reverse stake in the company as part of the tran­sac­tion. The parties have agreed not to disc­lose finan­cial details of the tran­sac­tion. — Alan­tra, the global invest­ment banking and asset manage­ment firm focu­sed on the mid-market segment, has advi­sed Quadriga Capi­tal Funds, Jersey (“Quadriga”), legacy share­hol­ders and manage­ment of Aspire Educa­tion Group (“Aspire” or “the Company”) on the sale of the Company to EMZ Part­ners (“EMZ”).

The Vienna-based Aspire Group is the leading plat­form for voca­tio­nal quali­fi­ca­tion and trai­ning in the DACH region and, with 1,200 employees in eight compa­nies and 100,000 lear­ners per year, the largest private-sector educa­tion provi­der in Austria. The Aspire plat­form, consis­ting of the ibis acam, ETC, brai­ny­mo­tion, ARS, KAOS, Stepin, aspi­doo and fast lane brands, offers its custo­mers a wide range of services, from soft­ware & IT, legal, compli­ance, tax and finance to prepa­ring trai­nees and jobsee­kers to start or re-enter the work­force. The Aspire Group inves­ted in online and digi­tal capa­bi­li­ties early on, and Aspire custo­mers can access the service offe­ring either on-site, hybrid, or online.

Under Quadriga’s owners­hip, Aspire has inves­ted in expan­ding its digi­tal lear­ning tools and in new, inno­va­tive formats such as Hire-Train-Deploy to address the skills shor­tage, and has signi­fi­cantly expan­ded its geogra­phic foot­print and product port­fo­lio through six stra­te­gic acqui­si­ti­ons since 2018. Most recently, Aspire acqui­red the German IT trai­ning provi­der brai­ny­mo­tion and now gene­ra­tes group sales of around 100 million euros. With EMZ, Aspire now wants to conti­nue this growth course.

Over­all, the market for private and publicly funded educa­tion in Germany and Austria is worth around six billion euros and is esti­ma­ted to grow by around three percent a year in the coming years, with IT trai­ning expec­ted to grow more than twice as fast. The market is bene­fi­t­ing from demo­gra­phic change and the asso­cia­ted struc­tu­ral trend toward lifel­ong lear­ning, as well as from the shor­tage of skil­led person­nel, parti­cu­larly in the IT sector. Accord­ing to the Insti­tute of the German Economy (IW), there were recently no suita­bly quali­fied jobsee­kers for nine out of ten vacan­cies nati­on­wide in Germany.

Phil­ipp Jacobi, Mana­ging Part­ner of Quadriga Capi­tal Eigen­ka­pi­tal­be­ra­tung GmbH, advi­sor to Quadriga, said: “The Aspire Group has perfor­med extre­mely well since Quadriga’s entry. Alantra’s exten­sive expe­ri­ence in working with private equity inves­tors has now enab­led us to realize this value propo­si­tion in the dive­s­ti­ture, comple­ting a success­ful tran­sac­tion despite a chal­len­ging M&A environment.”

Johan­nes Lampert and Udo Schel­kes, co-CEOs of Aspire, added: “This tran­sac­tion provi­des an excel­lent foun­da­tion for the imple­men­ta­tion of our future vision for Aspire with orga­nic growth through inno­va­tive products as well as through further stra­te­gic acqui­si­ti­ons and part­ners­hips. We have already seen in past acqui­si­ti­ons that both the Austrian and German markets have unique charac­te­ris­tics and circum­s­tan­ces despite their proxi­mity in terms of geogra­phy and language. The tireless commit­ment of the Alan­tra teams in both coun­tries has there­fore made an important contri­bu­tion to the success of the tran­sac­tion and to our further growth strategy.”

Sven Harm­sen, Mana­ging Direc­tor in Alantra’s Frank­furt office, added: “We thank Quadriga and the manage­ment team for the trust and close coope­ra­tion on this mandate. Well-rehe­ar­­sed teams with sector expe­ri­ence are a key factor in being able to success­fully close tran­sac­tions even in the current market environment.”

The tran­sac­tion was mana­ged by Alantra’s offices in Frank­furt(Wolf­ram Schmerl (photo), Sven Harm­sen and Maxi­mi­lian Rohardt) and Vienna (Klaus Vukovich).

About Alan­tra
Alan­tra is a global alter­na­tive asset manage­ment, invest­ment banking and credit port­fo­lio advi­sory firm focu­sed on provi­ding services to busi­nes­ses, fami­lies and inves­tors opera­ting in the middle market segment. The Group has more than 550 profes­sio­nals in Europe, the USA, Latin America and Asia.
The Invest­ment Banking divi­sion provi­des inde­pen­dent advice on M&A, debt advi­sory, rest­ruc­tu­ring and capi­tal markets tran­sac­tions and has advi­sed on more than 475 tran­sac­tions with a total value of over €80 billion in the last three years. Alantra’s specia­lists have both exten­sive global sector exper­tise and strong rela­ti­ons­hips with local compa­nies, inves­tors, entre­pre­neurs and finan­cing insti­tu­ti­ons in each of their markets.

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