LDC set to trump last year’s investment total

LDC, the private equity division of Lloyds Banking Group, has continued its prolific deal spree having sealed its eleventh investment this year, and is on track to surpass last year’s total.

LDC has acquired online learning business Learndirect for approximately £40 million. The investment is the firm’s eleventh this year and takes the total value of its equity investments this year to £245 million (€284 million; $379 million), according to a statement from the firm. The total enterprise value for investments made by LDC this year is around £450 million.

Learndirect is the brand name for its parent company Ufi. The business was launched in 2000 and has had 3000 people use its online learning facilities in subjects such as maths and IT.

In a statement, Joanne Milner, investment director at LDC said: “Improving the skills base of the UK workforce is one of the critical factors in helping to quicken the pace of economic recovery.”

LDC has invested in the training and learning sector in the past, acquiring training company JHP Group in January 2010 for £30 million. JHP provides staff training and apprenticeships across England, Scotland and Wales.

This year’s investment target for LDC is £300 million, and a source close to the matter said it is likely to surpass it. So far this year the firm has already reached last year’s equity investment total of £245 million.

In the last week alone LDC made two exits, taking its tally to six exits so far this year, although the firm did not disclose their total value. On Monday LDC sold insurance claims service provider the Davies Group to private equity firm Electra Partners for £60 million. In October 2010, LDC made its fifth and sixth exits, which valued investments so far that year at £650 million.

A person close to the firm has said that a number of deals are in the pipeline and some could materialise in the next few weeks.

Earlier this year there was speculation that LDC would spin out from Lloyds Banking Group. However in June, PEI reported that Lloyds would hang on to its buyout unit.