Published on 21st April 2021 by Josh O’Neill

South Africa: Sommet Education bulks up ahead of auction with acquisition

Sommet Education has acquired a majority stake in Invictus Education Group, a network of culinary arts schools based in South Africa.

Sommet Education is a group of hospitality-focused higher education institutions in France and Switzerland owned by France-listed private equity group Eurazeo.

Earlier this week, EducationInvestor Global revealed that Eurazeo had instructed investment bankers from Rothschild & Co to explore a sale of its stake in Sommet Education.

Sommet’s acquisition of Invictus is a sign that the group is beefing up ahead of an auction later this year, completing its first takeover since June 2019.

The deal will see Sommet lift its enrolments to 9,000 from 6,000.

Sommet and Invictus plan to develop additional campuses for the International Hotel School and one additional SAE Institute campus in South Africa.

The first project under construction will be in Benoni, South Africa, and is due to open in July this year. It will be followed in 2022 by other campuses in South Africa: Nelspruit, Potchefstroom, Port Elisabeth and Pretoria. Developments are also planned for Africa, with a first campus opening in Kenya already scheduled for 2023.

“Invictus Education Group is an amazing success story in the African education landscape,” said Benoît-Etienne Domenget, chief executive of Sommet Education. “With a 25-year history on the continent, a diverse portfolio of hospitality education institutions, a very strong digital program portfolio, a highly experienced team and a robust management, a national footprint and strong pipeline, Invictus has the potential to further carry all our ambitions in the region and beyond.”

Mike Lambert, Invictus founder and chief executive, added: “This alliance also means that we will be able to provide our students with access to a worldwide network of alumni and industry partners with diversified learning paths and careers, with even more opportunity to learn and thrive internationally.”

Sommet Education was advised by Financière de Courcelles, a French M&A boutique.