Aldermaston: Polestar advises Double First sale to Australian group

Polestar has advised the shareholders of Double First, one of the world’s leading international school software providers, on its sale to Australia’s leading edtech company, Education Horizons Group (EHG).

The acquisition of Double First, headquartered at Aldermaston, is a central pillar of EHG’s international growth strategy, supported by Australian tech-focused private equity firm and majority owner, Potentia Capital.

Double First’s international presence expands EHG’s predominantly Australia/NZ operations, creating a global business servicing over 1,900 schools and one million school users in more than 60 countries across the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and NZ.

This follows the merger and acquisition of five leading Australian edtech companies by the EHG team since 2015, developing an end-to-end software offering that supports school administration, finance, teaching and learning, property and location data management and distance education.

“There is a very strong fit across the culture, values, vision and products of Double First and EHG,” Double First CEO Barry Anns said.

“I feel excited about the future opportunities for our business and I am honoured to lead the Group’s international growth plans.”

Anns added: “Our Engage school management information and finance solution is a fantastic product. Offering it together with EHG services like SEQTA, myEdOnline and OMNILINK further strengthens our ability to empower school eco-systems in all of the key regions we operate in globally.”

Anns thanked Charlie Whelan and his team at Polestar for delivering this international deal. “From the off, Polestar guided us through the tricky process of correctly positioning the business, introduced us to a wide variety of buyers from around the globe, before driving the deal to this great conclusion with the perfect buyer. The founding shareholders have had a great exit and the business is in a fantastic position to capitalise on the fast-growing market”.

EHG CEO and managing director Tim Dawson said: “This acquisition is the next step in developing our end-to-end school software offering and growing Education Horizons Group into the world’s leading K-12 education software provider.

“Through this acquisition we grow our customer base, establish a global presence and create the capacity to deliver our market-leading products to new customers around the world.

“I am delighted to welcome Double First CEO Barry Anns and his team to the Education Horizons Group. Barry will continue to serve as Double First CEO and assume the new role of Group Head of International, as he and his team lead our international growth push from their regional offices around the world.”

“We look forward to ongoing strong growth for EHG as we continue to leverage new technologies and develop the world’s leading edtech platform,” Dawson said.

Double First’s school management system Engage was launched in 2006 to support independent school academic, marketing, administration and finance functions.

Double First was advised by Polestar and Royds Withy King while EHG was advised on this transaction by Herbert Smith Freehills, EY and Genesis Advisory.

Polestar is a sector-focused corporate finance adviser working for business owners in buying, selling, raising capital or requiring debt advisory services. Based in the South East, and part of an international group, the team has advised on more than £6 billion in deals with a combined 100 years’ of experience.