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Old Barn Day Nurseries acquired by expanding nursery group in a deal brokered by Merrill Hays

Childcare focused business brokers, Merrill Hays has secured the sale of The Old Barn Day Nurseries in Banstead, Surrey. This leading pair of day nurseries, judged 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, have a combined registration of 72 children and have been operating for over two decades.

The nurseries were created by Richard and Alison Bennett, with the first opening in 1989 and the second in 1996. The nurseries provide a high standard of full-time care for children from birth up to the age of 5 years in a variety of age-appropriate rooms and both nurseries benefit from beautiful outdoor play facilities. After many years of hard work and success the couple decided to place the nurseries on the market so they could enjoy a well-earned retirement. They instructed Merrill Hays to engage a highly confidential process to position the business to suitable potential acquirers.

David Howell, Director of Merrill Hays who led the process, said: "We are delighted to announce the sale of this thriving pair of day nurseries which, as anticipated, generated substantial interest from a wide range of prospective purchasers including existing childcare operators, private equity investors and a number of first-time nursery buyers. By utilising our expertise within the sector we were able to create a competitive market, offering the best position for deal value to our client. Over 45 parties signed and returned NDAs and 13 offers were obtained which resulted in a successful sale that exceeded the asking price."

Richard Bennett praised Merrill Hays for their handling of the deal commenting: "Having been disappointed with the lack of activity from one of the large, national business agents, I turned to Merrill Hays for a more personal and proactive 'small-firm' approach. Merrill Hays were highly proficient from the outset. They produced excellent sale particulars, identified and confidentially introduced targeted acquirers and obtained over a dozen competitive bids on the nursery. They delivered on all fronts. The advice and guidance that Merrill Hays offered, together with their insight into our sector proved invaluable throughout the process. On a personal basis, David Howell was a pleasure to work with and I was able to rely on him without reservation."

The Old Barn Day Nursery has been acquired by ICP Nurseries, an expanding nursery group who are backed by London-based private equity firm Innervation Capital Partners. ICP Nurseries were quick to identify the fantastic opportunity that these nurseries offered, are worked expediently in order to secure the business and conclude the deal.

Commenting on the acquisition, Tracey Storey, CEO of ICP Nurseries said: "As a rapidly expanding nursery group within London and South East we are keen to invest in outstanding settings in the right locations with strong Ofsted ratings. The Old Barn matched our brand values and demonstrated a superb track record of success and customer loyalty. During the transaction we found Merrill Hays to be professional and supportive and they worked in close partnership with both the sellers and ourselves. We are delighted to have acquired this lovely pair of nurseries and are enjoying getting to know all the children, their parents and the staff."

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