OTTP’s Busy Bees to acquire Vision Capital backed BrightPath for $145M

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By Ted Liu

BrightPath Early Learning Inc. (TSX-V: BPE) has entered into a definitive arrangement agreement to be acquired by Busy Bees Holdings Limited, a portfolio company of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), for $0.80 per share in cash representing an aggregate transaction value of approximately $145 million.

Vision Capital Corporation, a Toronto based real estate focused investment fund manager, is a backer and the largest shareholder of BrightPath Early Learning, controlling 15.4% of the outstanding shares.

Ontario Teachers’ acquired Busy Bees in October 2013.

Cormark Securities Inc. has provided the fairness opinion to the Board. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is acting as legal counsel to BrightPath.

BMO Capital Markets is acting as financial advisor to Busy Bees. Torys LLP is acting as legal counsel to Busy Bees.

BrightPath is a Canadian leader in the child care industry with 77 locations in major markets across the country. Meeting the highest standards in curriculum, nutrition, technology and recreational programing, BrightPath is committed to providing families the very best child development programs and care that Canada has to offer.

Founded in 1984, Busy Bees is the UK’s largest provider of quality child care, looking after 35,000 children across the country, in 329 nurseries. In addition to its UK presence, Busy Bees also operates 70 nurseries across Singapore and Malaysia, including the Asian International College.

“After considering and pursuing several options to maximize value for shareholders of BrightPath, the Board believes this is a compelling transaction and price for shareholders. We are pleased that shareholders will be rewarded for their support and commitment in creating, nurturing and advancing BrightPath. The purchase price represents a significant premium to the market price for the shares both recently and over the past several years. In addition, we are pleased that the opportunity to create a leading national, high quality professionally managed early learning child care company, as envisioned by its founding shareholders, has been recognized in this transaction. From a startup company just 7 years ago, BrightPath is now recognized as a Canadian leader. We are proud to have developed and opened several new state-of-the-art early learning centres in underserved communities and create more than 2,200 high quality jobs for early learning and other professionals. This transaction will also serve Canadian families well by ensuring that a high quality and well-funded owner with a long-term commitment to the industry can advance BrightPath’s strategic goals and opportunities,” said Jeffrey Olin, Chairman of BrightPath and CEO of Vision Capital.

photo credit: Busy Bees