New owner of Cognita announced
Global investment firms Bregal Investments and KKR today announced the signing of a binding agreement for the sale of Cognita, the leading global schools group, to Jacobs Holding of Switzerland.
Cognita operates over 70 schools across 8 countries, educating more than 40,000 children. The organisation was established in 2004 by Bregal with the acquisition of a single school in the UK and expanded successfully into Europe, Asia and Latin America. Cognita continued to grow rapidly and in 2013 KKR invested to become a 50% shareholder in the company, giving even greater support to Cognita’s growth across the globe and helping to build a world-class organisation. Since then, through significant additional investment, the company’s growth has accelerated in both Asia and Latin America, educating more than 20,000 children in these markets. From inception, Cognita has strived to improve the quality of education and provide genuinely inspiring environments for children to develop.
Patrick De Maeseneire, Chief Executive of Jacobs Holding, said: “We are very excited to join forces with Cognita and its management team. It has always been the aim of Jacobs Holding and the Jacobs Family to create global leaders in attractive markets, and therefore we are keen to support Cognita in its further international expansion. With this acquisition we are able to invest in education and the development of young people. These themes always played an important role for Klaus Jacobs, our founder, and are at the heart of the Jacobs Foundation, which is the sole economic beneficiary of our investments. In this sense and from the perspective of a long-term orientated investor, Cognita presents a very interesting opportunity to create value not only for Jacobs Holding but also for society.”
Chris Jansen, Chief Executive of Cognita, said: “We are extremely pleased to be entering a new and exciting phase with Jacobs Holding. We both share an ambition to help shape the future, by educating young minds to think globally, act responsibly and achieve their full potential. None of this would have been possible without Bregal and KKR. Together they have been great custodians of Cognita and have built a global and well-regarded company. We will forever be thankful for their foresight, belief and encouragement.”
Commenting on the sale to Jacobs Holding, Edmund Lazarus, formerly Managing Partner at Bregal Capital and now Managing Partner of EMK Capital, who represents Bregal Investments in relation to Cognita, said: “We founded Cognita in 2004 with the late Sir Chris Woodhead, with a single small UK school. He believed that putting educational quality first would give Cognita wings. We are very proud of the extraordinary global success story that Cognita has become and we are delighted that Cognita is led by people who are committed to our vision of educational excellence. With Jacobs, a long-term investor committed to education, the future for Cognita will be even more exceptional.”
Christian Ollig, Managing Director at KKR, said: “Cognita’s success has been built on the quality of education that it offers, both in terms of academic results and personal development of the children. We are proud to have been a partner for Cognita in bringing this model of education and care to parents and children throughout the world, and feel confident that Jacobs are the right partner for Cognita going forward.”
The transaction is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to customary regulatory approvals.