Date:July 2019
Project:Acquisition Support
Role:Financial analysis and modelling support for the acquisition


Forward support Horizon on buyout of education software platform from Essex County Council

We are delighted to have supported Horizon Capital on its investment in Juniper Education for the buyout of EES for Schools from Essex County Council.


The EES business has two divisions, one comprising Target Tracker software platform, and the other providing professional services including HR, finance and professional development to schools in Essex and across the UK.


Led by Executive Chairman Gavin Freed, Juniper’s strategy is to consolidate the large and fragmented market for software and service provision to primary and secondary schools in the UK. This is the first in a series of planned acquisitions for Juniper.


Alongside Gavin, the new Juniper Board comprises Finance Director Mike Bibby, former Tribal CEO Peter Martin and James Randall as Non-Executive Directors and Horizon Managing Partner Simon Hitchcock. The group’s new executive team includes Operations Director Keren Prior and Sales & Marketing Director Jason Oster.


Forward supported the Juniper team to develop a financial model for the new business as a standalone entity from Essex County Council, and to present the opportunity to Horizon and the banks to secure funding. We worked closely with RSM who provided financial due diligence. Through our contacts in East Anglia, Forward were also able to introduce Horizon and Juniper to Mike Bibby, who joins as Finance Director. Mike was previously Finance Director at Cambridgeshire-based Slate Hall group, where Forward acted as lead advisor on its sale to CVS last July.


Gavin Freed, Juniper Executive Chairman, commented: “This is an exciting time in UK education with a clear opportunity to consolidate software and services to reduce workloads and simply enable teachers to teach. EES provides us with an excellent platform, and the Horizon team’s track record in scaling software and service businesses and supporting buy-and-builds aligns well with our strategy for Juniper”.


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