Archer builds education platform

The Australian buyout firm has acquired five New Zealand privately education business through Archer Capital Fund V. The fund is an AUD 1.5 billion, 2011 vehicle that returned AUD 300 million to investors in November 2014.

Australian buyout firm Archer Capital has acquired five New Zealand-based private education businesses through Archer Capital Fund V, it is understood.

Together the five education businesses, which will all retain their brands, will be called Aspire2. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Fund V, a 2011-vintage vehicle that closed on AUD 1.5 billion ($1.1 billion; €987 million), has struggled to deploy capital and returned AUD 300 million of commitments to investors in late 2014, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

The investment in Aspire2 follows Archer's acquisition in June 2015 of consumer and commercial risk management services business Dun & Bradstreet Australia and New Zealand for a reported AUD 220 million.

Aspire2 will be New Zealand’s largest private provider of vocational education to international students, as well as domestic students and clients. It will also be the largest private provider of safety training and workplace communication training in New Zealand, according to a statement.

The company will be led by chief executive Sussan Turner and chief financial officer Peter Crossan, formerly of MediaWorks New Zealand.

“Aspire2 has strong growth opportunities,” Turner said. “We have a diverse and attractive portfolio of assets that aligns well with the New Zealand Government’s focus on increasing international student contribution to GDP, improving occupational health and safety outcomes, adult literacy and numeracy, as well as enhancing education and job opportunities for Maori, Pasifika and at-risk youth.”

Archer Capital Fund V seeks mid-market LBO opportunities in Australia and New Zealand, favouring businesses with enterprise values of between AUD 150 million and AUD 700 million, and strong market positions, according to the company website.