Exit: Quadriga Capital sells Aspire Education to EMZ Partners
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).
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.