New York-based Stonepeak invests €1B in Inspired as private schools bounce back from COVID disruption

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New York-based alternative investment firm, Stonepeak, has announced a long-term partnership with Inspired Education Group. As part of this partnership, Stonepeak will make a minority equity investment of €1B in the operator of premium schools in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The backing from Stonepeak will allow Inspired to accelerate its growth and expand to other international markets through the development of new school campuses. Stonepeak says the funding will be used to support selective acquisition of leading schools.

Stonepeak invests in Inspired to scale the education group

Since its founding in 2011, Stonepeak has specialised investing in infrastructure and real assets, and has approximately $6B assets under management. The private equity firm invests primarily in businesses with stable cash flows, inflation linkage, and high barriers to entry, and the minority equity in Inspired forms part of this strategy.

With this investment, Stonepeak joins the likes of GIC (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund), TA Associates, Warburg Pincus, and the Oppenheimer and Mansour family offices, who have invested in Inspired Education Group.

Stonepeak says Inspired will continue to be led and controlled by its founder, Nadim M Nsouli, and the education group will focus on investing in innovation. The PE firm says the company will also focus on further developing its growing suite of digital offerings. Together, Stonepeak aims to turn Inspired into one of the “most impactful education groups worldwide.”

“Nadim and the team have done a fantastic job building a global, high-quality group of schools to meet the evolving education needs of the local communities they serve around the world,” says Nikolaus Woloszczuk, Senior Managing Director at Stonepeak. “We are excited to help accelerate Inspired’s growth strategy as part of Stonepeak’s growing European presence and are eager to see the Company bring its successful track record of fostering academic excellence and delivering improved outcomes to even more students globally.”

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James Wyper, Senior Managing Director, Stonepeak, says, “We believe there is a vast need for investment in essential social infrastructure that supports innovation and productivity around the world and view education as a critical part of the equation. We look forward to identifying additional areas of investment opportunity where we believe we can make an impact within social infrastructure and to partnering with Inspired as the team advances its mission and growth ambitions in the years to come.”

Inspired Education Group: what you need to know

Inspired Education Group was founded in 2013 by Nadim M Nsouli as a co-educational, non-denominational, international provider of private schools. The company operates over 70 premium schools in 20 countries. From kindergarten to year 13, it has more than 55,000 students learning at its private education institutions.

It offers a holistic curriculum to students that are designed with the intent of helping each student achieve their maximum potential. Inspired also individually develops and designs its schools in response to their environment and location. This design-oriented approach allows Inspired to tailor its curriculum to reflect current attitudes and re-evaluate its teaching methods.

“In less than 9 years, we have become the leading global group of premium schools. We have been able to do so by being laser focused on delivering an outstanding holistic educational journey to our students around the world and getting over 90% of them into their first-choice university destinations. In addition to owning some of the leading schools globally, we have been rapidly growing our fully online school and expanding our technology initiatives in our classrooms,” says Nadim M Nsouli, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Inspired.

The investment in Inspired shows the bounce back in global demand for private education after disruption caused by the pandemic. During the early phase of the pandemic, private schools saw some students drop out but most are believed to have returned and Inspired’s focus on teaching local families means it has students locked into the system for longer.

With private school education growing once again, the leadership in markets like Spain, Italy, and South Africa will help Inspired expand into regions like Latin America. However, one of the challenges would be finding a balance between its on-premise education and online school offering the International Baccalaureate.

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