July 25th, 2019 / Insight posted in Articles

Kingston Smith advises on sale of Ofsted “outstanding” independent school

Kingston Smith Corporate Finance has advised Carol Gay, the owner of The Village School, an independent girls’ preparatory school based in North London, on its sale to Chatsworth Schools. Carol has owned and acted as headmistress of this Ofsted “outstanding”-rated school for over 20 years and was keen to see it pass into the ownership of a team which shared her values. Chatsworth Schools, run by Anita Gleave, fitted the bill perfectly.

We helped Carol throughout the process, from identifying potential buyers and running the negotiations to managing the due diligence process and advising on closing mechanics through to completion. We collaborated with our audit, accountancy and payroll teams to ensure no stones were left unturned.

We worked closely with Carol to understand her goals and expectations and, out of a number of interested parties, Chatsworth was identified as the partner which most closely shared her vision for the future. Carol’s lawyers ensured the legal documentation properly reflected the financial terms agreed and, together with us, saw to it that all industry and commercial aspects were addressed. Some topical aspects included managing the process for obtaining Department of Education permission for change of ownership and complying with TUPE regulations.

Chatsworth Schools are backed by Synova Capital, a leading private equity firm, and were keen to bring The Village School under their wing to help them achieve their ambition of building a group of highly rated schools.

Carol said: “The services provided by the Kingston Smith team were invaluable. It wasn’t always straightforward but Kingston Smith and our lawyers, Steinfeld Law, expertly managed the process. I am extremely happy knowing that the school’s reputation will remain intact within the Chatsworth Schools group.’’

John Cowie, partner at Kingston Smith, commented: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Carol and her lawyers. It can be quite an emotional time saying goodbye to a life’s work but we’re happy for Carol that Chatsworth shares her values and will maintain The Village School’s reputation for years to come.”

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