Private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners has acquired Business School24, the education and training unit of Italian business newspaper Il Sole.
Under the deal Palamon will acquire 49% of the Company at an enterprise valuation of €80 million with a call option to acquire an additional 2% in May 2018. Arrangements have also been put in place for Palamon to acquire additional equity in future, with Il Sole agreeing to retain a minimum 20% strategic stake in the business.
Business School24 was established in 1991 and provides professionally-oriented education and training courses in Italy. The school has two headquarters in Milan and Rome and enrols more than 26,000 students a year onto its courses both in classrooms and online. Most of its courses include an internship for the students.
Palamon’s investment in Business School24 stems from its ongoing interest in identifying businesses that benefit from a structural shift towards private education. Palamon previously invested in Cambridge Education Group, a pathway provider for foreign students to access western universities, which it exited in 2013 for a 14.5x return.
It believes that Business School24 is ideally positioned to address the need for specialised vocational training among young people in Italy where unemployment currently stands at more than 30%.
Fabio Massimo Giuseppetti, partner at Palamon Capital Partners, said: “Business School24 is one of the most widely respected education brands in Italy and it is playing a key role in overcoming the structural disconnection between tertiary education and graduate employment. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Il Sole 24 ORE to help accelerate growth in the provision of specialised vocational training and a pathway to the labour market for young Italians.”
Franco Moscetti, CEO of Il Sole added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Palamon to accelerate the expansion of our education services across offline and online channels. Their track record in the education sector and understanding of the industry dynamics convinced us of their ability to successfully capture the market opportunity in Italy.”
Business School24 is the sixth investment from Palamon’s latest fund, which has also invested in Italian leather accessories brand, Il Bisonte, International payments provider Currencies Direct and global sock brand, Happy Socks.