Buy-out of e-learning business will help it take on new opportunities; Management takeover given support of Cardiff companies opportunities

CARDIFF-BASED WestBridge Fund Managers has led on the management buy-out of e-learning business e2train.


Other funding on the MBO of the Gloucester-based company has come from the team itself and debt finance from the Royal Bank of Scotland. The value of the deal is not being disclosed, following which WestBridge has taken a 31% equity stake in the business.


The software business is a provider of learning and performance management systems, which help large enterprises deliver e-learning to its employees The business has grown rapidly under the stewardship of chief executive Rob Caul, who has been involved since it was founded in 2000. 


Mr Caul and his management team were advised in the buy-out by Cardiff-based Gambit Corporate Finance. As part of the MBO, John Caines joins the board as non-executive chairman.


As well as being a successful entrepreneur in the software sector, Mr Caines is an associate partner of WestBridge, which acquired Cardiff-based Wales Fund Managers in 2008 – taking over a fund of £1.2m.

However, it is currently raising a new £50m SME-focused equity investment fund, which it will close in January. It said it has a healthy pipeline of deals and is looking to complete on its next in the first quarter of 2010.


Mr Caul: "I am delighted that we have been able to complete this transaction with WestBridge. The fact that WestBridge involves both high-net worth and institutional investors should ensure that we receive more than just equity finance.


I am very much looking forward to working with Valerie and the team over the coming months and years.

"I must also thank the team from Gambit Corporate Finance, who have been working with us to deliver this transaction. We are extremely pleased with the support and guidance that Geraint Rowe, Andy Charter and the rest of team have given us to make this transaction possible."


Mr Caines said: "I am thrilled to have invested in e2train and to have joined the board as chairman as part of this transaction.


"Rob and his team are both an experienced and well-rounded group of business managers that have consistently grown the business and who I believe will go on to more success. I am delighted to be part of the company's future."


Partner with WestBridge Valerie Kendall, who led on the deal, said "We believe e2train to be an attractive fast growing profitable company well placed in its market to take advantage of the trends towards more efficiently delivered and effective training in larger corporates. Rob has built up an experienced and eminently backable team and John Caines is an experienced chairman with a demonstrable track record in that role."


Charles Davey, associate director, Royal Bank of Scotland, said:"We are pleased to have provided debt finance alongside Rob Caul's team and WestBridge to effect the management buy-out of e2train. The company is a well-managed business that has shown that it can thrive in the current business environment."Andy Charter, director, Gambit Corporate Finance, said: "We believe e2train has an excellent management team with a clear strategy to leverage its blue chip client base to grow the business and take advantage of the opportunities within the rapidly expanding e-learning and performance management environment."


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