AcadeMedia is the largest independent education provider in Northern Europe. The company provides a complete educational offering spanning from pre-schools to adult education and operates approximately 550 units across Sweden, Norway and Germany.
Every year, approximately 140,000 children and students attend AcadeMedia's pre-schools, compulsory schools, upper secondary schools and adult education courses.
AcadeMedia has a multi-brand strategy with distinct profiles and is headquartered in Stockholm. Schools and brands are largely operated independently but there are key central functions for quality control, training, pedagogical development, sourcing and purchasing and financial control.
Sweden operates a voucher system where families can freely choose schools and where the funding is public. Privately operated schools in the voucher system are not allowed to charge any additional fees from students. AcadeMedia is growing steadily and significantly faster than the number of pupils as it captures market share from the municipal sector or other private school operators.
AcadeMedia was founded in 1996 as an adult education company. It was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 2001, and in 2007, it started to acquire other education companies and entered the Swedish school voucher system. EQT acquired AcadeMedia in 2010.
AcadeMedia was listed again on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in June 2016.
Market trends and drivers
The outlook for AcadeMedia is positive as the Company is gaining market share across the majority of segments and brand names.
The Swedish school market is defined by the voucher system ("skolpeng") whereby privately operated schools are reimbursed based on the cost of providing the same education by public schools in a certain municipality. The market as such in terms of number of student is growing only slowly but for the private operators there are growth opportunities in attracting students from municipal schools or acquiring them.
Over the next few years, the demographic development in the pre- and compulsory school segment is favorable while the upper secondary segment will have a falling number of students. Both the adult education market and the regular school market are subject to political decisions in terms of how much is spent on education.
The business is stable and non-cyclical and the adult segment is counter-cyclical as public spending on vocational training increases in economic downturns.
The rationale when EQT took AcadeMedia private was that the Swedish education market was still fragmented with a relatively low penetration for private education.
AcadeMedia was Sweden’s leading education company with a strong market and stable cash flow generation and there were opportunities for both organic growth and M&A activities.
The business plan was calling for accelerated growth with green-field roll-out within the pre- and compulsory school segments, improved utilization of the installed base of schools by additional/extension of educational programs, acquisitions of both single unit schools with attractive locations or propositions and larger units, and finally implementing transfer of best practices across the organization and continued procurement optimization.