Alantra advises Quadriga Capital on the sale of Aspire Education to EMZ Partners
Frankfurt – Alantra, the global independent asset management and investment banking firm, has advised Quadriga Capital Funds (“Quadriga“), previous shareholders and the management team of Aspire Education Group (“Aspire“ or “the Company“) on the sale of the company to EMZ Partners (“EMZ“). The management team of Aspire including co-CEOs, Johannes Lampert and Udo Schelkes, will retain a minority stake. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.
The Vienna-based Aspire Group is the leading platform for professional qualification and training in the DACH region. With its 1,200 employees in eight companies and 100,000 apprentices per year, Aspire is the largest private-sector education provider in Austria. The Aspire platform, comprising the brands ibis acam, ETC, brainymotion, ARS, KAOS, Stepin, aspidoo and Fast Lane, offers a wide range of services from software & IT, legal, compliance, tax and finance education, to preparing apprentices and jobseekers for the start or the re-entry into the job market. Aspire has been investing in online and digital capabilities offering its services online, on-site or in hybrid format.
Under Quadriga’s ownership, Aspire has invested in the expansion of its digital learning tools as well as in innovative concepts such as Hire-Train-Deploy to address the skilled labour shortage, and has significantly expanded its geographic footprint and product portfolio through six strategic acquisitions since 2018. Most recently, Aspire acquired German IT training provider brainymotion and now generates a group revenue of around €100 million. With the support of EMZ, Aspire intends to continue this growth path.
The market for private and publicly funded education in Germany and Austria has a total volume of around €6 billion and is estimated to grow by around 3% annually in the coming years, with the IT training segment expected to grow more than twice as fast. The market benefits from the demographic change in the society and the associated structural trend towards lifelong learning, as well as from a significant number of vacancies that need to be filled, particularly in the IT sector. According to a recent nationwide study of the German Economic Institute (IW), there were no suitable jobseekers for nine out of ten vacancies.
Philipp Jacobi, Managing Partner of Quadriga Eigenkapitalberatung GmbH, advisor to Quadriga, said: “The Aspire Group has performed extremely well during Quadriga’s ownership. Alantra’s extensive experience in working with private equity investors has enabled us to now realize this value creation and close a successful transaction despite the currently 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 vision for Aspire’s future with organic growth through innovative products as well as through further strategic acquisitions and partnerships. In past acquisitions we have already seen that both the Austrian and the German market have their unique characteristics, despite the geographic and linguistic proximity. 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 their confidence and close cooperation on this mandate. Experienced teams with strong industry expertise are a key factor for successfully closing transactions, especially in the current economic environment.”