Sydney – Global law firm K&L Gates has advised a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKSE-listed Greentown Service Group Co. Ltd (Greentown) on its acquisition of a majority interest in Montessori Academy Group Pty Ltd (Montessori Academy) at an enterprise value of AUD120 million.
Montessori Academy is one of Australia's leading early childhood education and childcare service providers, with 23 long day care centres currently operating throughout New South Wales. Following the transaction, which completed on 5 July 2019, Montessori Academy's original founders Charles and Colette Assaf will retain a substantial minority interest in the business as it pursues continued growth plans.
Greentown invests in, among other things, early childhood education services across China and has been seeking to expand its presence elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, North America and Europe. This transaction marks Greentown's entrance into the Australian market.
K&L Gates' Sydney and Shanghai offices have been involved from the deal's inception approximately 12 months ago. Counsel Rong Fan managed the deal from Shanghai while Sydney corporate partners Nick Ramage and Daniel Atkin led in Australia. Sydney real estate partner Samuel Brown also advised on property aspects of the transaction, while Sydney finance partner Richard Gray advised on the establishment of a Greentown-funded line of credit to help drive Montessori Academy's continued expansion. The team also included special counsel Michelle Summerville and Tracey Jordan, senior associates Simon Leslie, Simon Correggia and Adam Moore, as well as lawyers Julia Kingston, Leon Fung, Eleni Brooks and Victoria Cai.
Ramage said: "We have witnessed a real influx of M&A activity in the childcare and early education sector in Australia, and our team has been involved in several significant transactions in this space. It was particularly pleasing for us to have advised Greentown on this cross-border deal that will facilitate the Montessori Academy's future growth. Through K&L Gates' integrated global network, our Sydney and Shanghai teams were able to work closely and seamlessly to support our client in reaching a successful close to this transaction."