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Corporate dealmakers advise Apiary Capital on its on tenth investment into ‘Outstanding’ professional education provider

28 April 2023

Browne Jacobson’s award-winning Private Equity team have advised UK lower mid-market private equity firm Apiary Capital on its investment into First Intuition, a national education provider.

First Intuition delivers accountancy training to around 5,000 learners in centres in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and via online and hybrid courses. The company’s apprenticeship and commercial training pathways leads to qualifications and membership of the four main accounting bodies, the AAT, CIMA, ACCA and ICAEW. Its apprenticeship offering is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Apiary’s investment will support the accountancy training provider to further develop the company’s apprenticeship and commercial training offering.

Apiary Capital is made up of an experienced team of private equity specialists and has invested in various UK companies since its inception in 2018 across the education, financial, business and technology services sectors. The firm acquires platform companies in growing markets and supports management teams to accelerate growth through roll-ups, roll-outs, and strategic acquisitions.

Browne Jacobson’s Birmingham and Manchester corporate and banking team advised Apiary on the deal. The team was led by private equity partners Gareth Davies and Ryan Brown

They were supported by associates Matt Dorman, Jack Milnthorpe and Harpinder Nahl. Partner Andrew Noble and associate Christian Burchardt supported on the tax side of the deal, whilst partner Graham Ball, and senior associates Melanie Hilton and Chereta Edmeade advised on the banking side. Senior associate Maz Dannourah advised on the employment element.

Partner Gareth Davies said: “First Intuition is one of the few providers in the UK with the ability to deliver specialist training at scale to accountancy and professional services firms and corporates. It has a strong market reputation for delivering great customer service and a high-quality teaching and student experience, and Apiary’s backing and expertise will enable it to further develop its offer to customers.” 

 “We are proud to have worked with Apiary on this – their tenth investment – demonstrating the continued strength of our relationship and our award-winning PE practice.

“Apiary is constantly looking to invest in innovative and attractive markets that have clear strategies in place for growth. Their partnership approach to their portfolio is key to their successful investment track record.”

Partner Ryan Brown added: “It was great to support Mark and Jess on another strategic investment and Apiary's 10th in total - delivery of this deal demonstrates the strength of our growing PE practice in the North-West as part our wider National PE strategy.” 

Jess French, Investment Director at Apiary, commented: “We are so pleased to be supporting Martin and the management team at First Intuition. We had followed the progress of the business for several years and have long been impressed by the company’s evident commitment to education quality and its willingness to develop long-term partnerships with its customers. The team have a considered growth plan that ensures the focus remains on learner success and customer service.”

“I would also like to thank the Browne Jacobson team that worked on this strategic deal. As is usual with them, they demonstrated their strength for delivering solid and commercial legal advice and for taking a collaborative approach in order to get the deal over the line.

“Their private equity expertise and first-rate service is why we want to continue working with them, whilst their growing knowledge of investments in the professional education training space really added value on this particular deal.”

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