Riverside makes first deal from Asia Fund II

The mid-market buyout firm has acquired Australia-based Learning Seat shortly after it made a first close on its latest Asia-focused vehicle.

The Riverside Company has invested in Australia-based education business Learning Seat, according to a company statement. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the firm said it is in a control position with board seats. The deal falls within the firm’s preferred sub-$200 million investment size in Asia. 

The Learning Seat investment marks the firm’s first from its Riverside Asia-Pacific Fund II, which made a first close on $70 million in September, a source with knowledge of the matter told PE Asia. It expects to make a final close on $150 – $200 million within a year of the first close, he said. 

Riverside declined to comment on fundraising.  

Learning Seat provides corporate training courses in Australia via a number of online learning centres. Riverside has invested in education software in other regions, but this is its first in the sector in Asia Pacific, according to the firm. 

“The company had a number of attractive features. It is broadly in the convergence of two areas that we feel very passionate about. One is education and training and the other is software,” co-chief executive of the firm Stewart Kohl told PE Asia. “We are big proponents of the online model both based on its effectiveness and it is also a very cost effective way to provide this training.”

The firm opened its Australia office in 2010, making its debut investment in the country a month later in The Boost Investment Group, PE Asia reported earlier. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but media reports at the time said the firm acquired a 70 percent stake in the company for around $70 million.

In Asia, Riverside has four offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Melbourne and focuses on the continent’s developed markets. 

During 2012, the firm exited portfolio companies Shinsouki, a Japan-based parking lot operator in April and MLCOA, an Australian medical exam business in August.