Feb 19, 2019

The Old Station Nursery Group Joins La Maison Bleue


Last week we had an exciting development, as we joined a large provider of quality childcare within France, La Maison Bleue. They share our passion for really high quality care and are keen to help us to expand within the UK, retaining all that is good about what we do. A press release has just gone out, explaining the deal, but here it is all about 'business as usual'!

“La Maison Bleue – one of the three largest players in the French childcare sector, the leader in Switzerland and the second largest player in Luxembourg – is pleased to announce the acquisition of The Old Station Nursery group, and thereby its first implementation in the UK.

Founded in 2002 by Sarah Steel, The Old Station Nursery is a highly regarded childcare provider in the counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, where the group operates 9 nurseries and 1 after-school club. Thanks to founder’s deep knowledge of the nurseries sector, the group has always fostered a development strategy based on providing the best possible environment for children and building a network of nurseries in attractive locations. The nurseries benefit from a great reputation in their local operating environments and in the sector more generally.

La Maison Bleue (LMB) has seen great expansion over the past years. Founded in 2004 by Sylvain Forestier and Antonia Ryckbosch – a childcare professional – La Maison Bleue has built a strong and innovative educational project, where the quality of childcare provided is of paramount importance. As such, nursery managers and staff work altogether on a daily basis to provide the best possible environment for children and encourage their development harmoniously, while respecting their own pace and providing them with the comfort and security needed to ensure their emotional balance.

LMB’s development is also driven by a team of entrepreneurial managers backed by financial sponsors, TowerBrook Capital Partners (“TowerBrook”) and Bpifrance, with a strong ambition to become a leading player in Europe. Since 2010, LMB has experienced a 40% revenue growth per annum and manages now about 300 nurseries.
LMB has a strong track-record in investing into its existing estate and new nurseries to grow its presence, as well as acquiring new businesses with a strategy to build a partnership with them. The main goal is to develop the acquired companies while allowing them to benefit from the synergies from being part of a leading network.
The acquisition of The Old Station Nursery represents a first foothold in the UK market where LMB has ambitious growth plans. As such, the group intends to do more acquisitions and become rapidly one of the significant market players.

Sylvain Forestier, CEO of La Maison Bleue said:
“We have been impressed by The Old Station Nursery’s achievements since the opening of the first nursery in Faringdon in 2002 and the business focus on quality childcare. We highly value Sarah’s extensive experience in the sector and are delighted by the prospect of partnering with her and The Old Station Nursery team to create together one of the UK leading players in the childcare market.”

Sarah Steel, Chair of The Old Station Nursery said:
“We are really pleased to be joining La Maison Bleue, as it allows us to build on all that we have achieved over the last 16 years, whilst enjoying the support of a leading company, which is also focused on quality. It’s a really exciting move for us all at The Old Station Nursery and we look forward to working closely together.”

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