Private equity firms table rival bids for Derry's Learning Pool

Learning Pool founder Paul McElvaney.
Learning Pool founder Paul McElvaney.

TWO private equity firms have lodged bids for Derry-based tech firm Learning Pool, according to reports.

The fast-growing online-learning company is on the market for around £140 million.

According to reports on the industry website EducationInvestor Global, Bowmark Capital and ECI Partners have both tabled undisclosed bids for the company.

Set up by Paul McElvaney in 2006, Carlyle Cardinal Ireland acquired a controlling stake in 2016. The €300m fund is managed by Cardinal Capital and The Carlyle Group.

According to the Irish Times, the initial investment was worth around £20m.

That cash injection has triggered a rapid expansion drive that has seen Leaning Pool acquire a string of rival companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Denver-based Remote Learner was the latest acquisition in December 2020.

Turnover last year rose one-third to £18.1m on the back of the continued expansion.

Learning Pool said 50 new employees were hired across its six office locations during 2020, with the recruitment drive expected to continue this year.

The e-learning firm now has around 1,100 global customers, with up to five million active learners.