Busy Bees buys kidsUniverse

Karen Faux
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Leading UK childcare provider Busy Bees increases its total number of nurseries to 354 with the acquisition of London-based kidsUniverse.

KidsUniverse provides an environment that supports independence in line with Montessori principles
KidsUniverse provides an environment that supports independence in line with Montessori principles

Busy Bees is taking over kidsUniverse which operates two Montessori day nurseries in the London borough of Harrow. Located on Marlborough Hill and Kenton Hill, they have a total 152 children on roll and are currently rated Good by Ofsted.

The acquisition, handled by healthcare and childcare broker ‎Redwoods Dowling Kerr, brings the total to 354 UK nurseries in the Busy Bees Group. Following overseas acquisitions, it now cares for more than 50,000 children across over 500 nurseries in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, China, and Australia.

Home-from-home
Established in 2010, nursery practice at kidsUniverse is based on the Montessori approach with a physical environment that supports children's independence and provides a home-from-home feel.

Marg Randles, chief academic officer and co-founder of Busy Bees said: ‘It’s fantastic to be able to welcome kidsUniverse to our growing portfolio. We want to provide the best possible outcomes to children in our care and I look forward to working with their talented and likeminded teams to continue giving the children the best start in life.

‘The key to our success over the last 35 years is having the best managers and nursery teams in place that are committed to ensuring our children are happy and thriving in their development. We will ensure that our parents are kept up-to-date throughout the transition process, as we continually improve the fantastic care and services that kidsUniverse currently provides.’

Pulkit Shah, former owner of kidsUniverse believes that Busy Bees is a good fit for the nurseries : ‘Since 2010 we’ve ensured that our children are supported through every step of their development to get them ready for their start in education. I believe that Busy Bees is the right group to take kidsUniverse forward to continue giving our children all the care and resources they need to succeed.’

As well as 354 nurseries in the UK, Busy Bees also operates two children’s centres and an independent primary school. In 2013, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan invested in the business, enabling Busy Bees to expand internationally.

In early 2015, 83 nurseries across Singapore and Malaysia joined the Busy Bees family, followed by 89 BrightPath nurseries in Canada in 2016.

Busy Bees has also launched a 200-place nursery in the city of Harbin, China in 2017. It plans to create a total of 33 nurseries in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xiamen by 2023. 

In May 2018, Busy Bees entered into a contract for the acquisition of Foundation Early Learning, a leading Australian provider of childcare for 3,500 children across 42 settings.

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