Wed 09/01/2021 11:27 AM
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Sponsors and direct lenders are tracking the sale of U.K.-based e-learning platform ICS Learn as the lender education is ongoing, sources told Reorg. Houlihan Lokey has been hired to run the sale and information memoranda have been circulated, sources said. The group is being marketed off run-rate 2021 EBITDA of £8.5 million, sources added. Continue reading for our EMEA Middle Market team's reporting  on the ICS Learn sale and request a trial for access to more reporting on and analysis of hundreds of stressed, distressed and performing credits in Europe. 

Direct lenders are seeking to replace Santander’s incumbent facilities with a unitranche aimed at boosting ICS Learn’s growth. Houlihan Lokey is targeting a debt package of about £50 million, sources said.

ICS Learn’s online education model is cash generative as an increasing number of individuals are enrolling in online courses to boost their skillset as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, sources said.

A number of education companies are expected to come to market in September, including Netherlands-based KidsKonnect and U.K. group National Education Group. Recent transactions in the education sector include Marlin Equity Partner’s acquisition of Learning Pool, which was backed by a unitranche with leverage of 6x, as reported.

Primary Capital acquired ICS Learn in 2018 with Santander providing debt facilities. ICS Learn has carried out a number of bolt-on acquisitions since, including Middle-East based training provider Acacia Learning in 2021 and HR qualification group DPD in 2020.

In the year to Dec. 31 2019, ICS Learn’s revenue jumped 60.7% year over year to £14.5 million and the group had liquidity of £3.2 million and bank loans of about £6 million.

ICS Learn is an online professional education platform, primarily operating in the human resources, accountancy and health and wellness markets.

Santander declined to comment. Houlihan Lokey and Primary Capital did not respond to Reorg’s request for comment.

--Lucía Camblor, Lara Gibson, Kerstin Kubanek
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