Acting for Just Childcare on acquisition and funding

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We have advised North West nursery group Just Childcare, the 12th largest nursery group in the UK, on the acquisition of five-strong nursery group Abbeywood Tots in Bristol, as well as securing over £12 million funding from Allied Irish Bank and Phoenix Equity.

The acquisition has taken Just Childcare from 33 to 38 nurseries and sees the nursery group extending its operations to the Southern region. The group now offers 2,752 child places across its nurseries, all of which are ranked  ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by Ofsted, and the funding will support the company’s plans for expansion and development.

Over the last 18 months the group has invested in the refurbishment of the majority of its settings, and in the coming months will be working with the Abbeywood Tots teams to provide them with the support they need to continue delivering the best possible care for parents and children.

Just Childcare was established in 2004 by David and Jacqueline Johnson, who have seen the family of nurseries grow from 7 settings to 38 in the last three years, during which time the group has been named as one of the UK’s Top 20 Recommended Large Nursery Groups by Those three years have also seen the development of Just Childcare’s Central Support Function in Manchester, led by an experienced management team with professionals specialising in areas from operations, safeguarding and quality support to HR and finance.

The Gateley Plc team advising Just Childcare was led by Corporate partner Charles Glaskie, supported by Corporate solicitor Ffion Brumwell-Hughes. Real Estate advice was also provided by senior associate Elly Duggins and associate Tertia Werry, while banking advice was led by partner Rick Sealy, alongside solicitor Patrick McCoy.

David Johnson, director at Just Childcare said: “Having built our reputation for providing a supportive, nurturing and inspiring service to thousands of families in the North, we are now looking forward to offering the very same to families living in the South.

“The substantial investment we have received from Allied Irish Bank and Phoenix Equity Partners has enabled us to realise our vision of extending our reach across the country, and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome the Abbeywood Tots children, parents and staff to our family.

“Jacqueline and I have previous experience of working with nurseries in Bristol, and are very much looking forward to returning to this wonderful community and working with our new colleagues.”

Charles Glaskie, Corporate partner at Gateley Plc, added: “Just Childcare is a valued long standing client and we have enjoyed working with the team on this acquisition as they continue on their ambitious growth plan. We wish them all the best with the new Abbeywood Tots sites and look forward to working with David and Jacqueline in the future.”

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