ACG to buy failed Intueri schools for undisclosed sum

Intueri was put into voluntary administration at the start of the month.

ACG Education, the private equity-owned education services provider, has agreed to buy failed NZX-listed private training provider Intueri Education Group's seven New Zealand vocational schools for an undisclosed sum.

Auckland-based ACG, which was bought by Australia's Pacific Equity Partners in 2015, has signed a conditional deal to buy the schools with Intueri's administrators William Black and Conor McElhinney of McGrathNicol, both parties said in separate statements. The transaction is subject to a number of conditions and is expected to be completed on June 30. No price was disclosed.

ACG will buy the shares of the New Zealand Institute of Sport, the New Zealand College of Massage, Global Education Group trading as NSI The Professional Hospitality Academy, and Intueri Education New Zealand trading as Cut Above Academy, Design and Arts College of New Zealand, Academy New Zealand, and Elite International School of Beauty and Spa Therapies.

"A key attraction was the fact that their colleges are complementary to two of our colleges, NZMA and New Zealand School of Tourism," ACG chief executive John Williamson said. "This will enable us to integrate our operations quickly, combine our strengths to deliver a broad range of high-quality programmes, and establish a strong platform for future expansion."

Intueri was put into voluntary administration at the start of the month after a strategic review attracted an offer for its operating assets for less than the $70.7 million owed to ANZ Bank New Zealand, meaning the lender would be forced to take a loss. At the time of the announcement, Intueri said it had a confirmed bid for the NZ Institute of Sport, the College of Massage, and NSIA The Professional Hospitality Academy.

Once the deal is complete, ACG's vocational training division will offer vocational education to more than 9,000 students in New Zealand every year. Government figures show there were 44,100 full-time students at private training establishments in 2015. Prior to the deal, ACG's vocational training covered about 5,000 domestic and international students across 23 New Zealand sites.

McGrathNicol's Black said the sale was "a very pleasing outcome and allows for a smooth transition of the business to a new owner, thereby ensuring that education services to students can continue uninterrupted."

Both the Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority were consulted with during the sale process, and ACG's Williams said: "we are pleased that both regulators are very supportive of ACG's acquisition".

ACG provides a wide range of education services spanning preschools, schools, university pathway programmes, and vocational and higher education colleges. Once the deal is complete it will educate 17,000 students at 50 campuses across New Zealand, Vietnam and Indonesia.