Operam Education Group – the BGF-backed education recruitment specialist – has completed the latest in a series of acquisitions, as part of its ambitious buy-and-build growth strategy. The company has acquired Lancashire-based Bridge Education Recruitment for an undisclosed sum in a deal supported by BGF – one of the largest and most experienced growth capital investors in the UK and Ireland.

Founded in 2014, Bridge Education has developed an excellent reputation based on trusted relationships with both schools and candidates across Lancashire and the surrounding regions. It is the second acquisition by Operam in the last 12 months and continues the management team’s ambitious buy-and-build growth strategy, which has seen Operam establish itself as one of the leading specialist education recruitment groups across the Midlands and the North of England. Following the acquisition, Bridge Education co-founder and director, Sharon Bridge, will remain with the business.

Commenting on the acquisition, Operam CEO Eddie Austin, said: “The acquisition of a trusted brand like Bridge Education is another important step forward for the business. The company has all the attributes we look for and fits perfectly with Operam – not only strategically and culturally, but also from a geographical perspective.

“This latest acquisition reaffirms our commitment to supporting schools across the region, through the provision of high-quality teachers, classroom support staff and tutors. It will facilitate deeper relationships with both schools and candidates through collaborative working and sharing best practice.”

He added: “We have an extremely strong pipeline of acquisition targets and we’re confident our approach will enable us to continue to expand, not just across our established regions, but into new geographies as well.”

Last year, BGF committed a further £2.5 million in follow-on funding to support Operam’s buy-and-build growth strategy, alongside £2.5 million of senior debt from HSBC. An additional £2.5 million of equity funding has also been committed to support future acquisitions which will take BGF’s total investment in Operam to £9.5 million.

BGF investor Rob Johnson, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting Operam’s latest acquisition – the fifth since BGF first invested in the business in 2019 – and look forward to welcoming Bridge Education into the Operam family.

“Having worked closely with Eddie and the team over the past four years, it is great to see the business continue to successfully execute against the original plan we backed and, with a strong pipeline of acquisition targets, established systems and processes and further committed funding from BGF, all the ingredients are there for Operam to continue the buy-and-build journey.”

Ward Hadaway (Sean Fitzgerald) provided legal advice to Operam, with Gordons (Amy Pierechod and Ben Roden) supporting BGF on the deal.

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