Andrea Townsley’s award-winning nursery group is the new owner of Little Ladybirds Day Nursery in Preston Farm.
The nursery was acquired from previous owner Lesley Thompson for an undisclosed sum.
The 110-place nursery opened in 2003 and in 2017 it was rated as outstanding by the education regulator Ofsted.
Little Ladybirds becomes the third nursery in Andrea’s group, with the 51-year-old married mum-of-three already owning two successful nurseries in Durham.
She opened Clever Clogs Belmont and Clever Clogs Bowburn in 2007 and 2011, respectively. Both nurseries are also rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
Explaining her decision to buy Little Ladybirds, Andrea, who lives in Stockton-on-Tees, said: “My dad was a businessman and he always advised me to look for the next investment and seize the opportunity when the right thing came along.
“Little Ladybirds is very much like my other nurseries. Purpose-built, in a great location, rated outstanding by Ofsted and with bags of potential, so once I knew it was on the market, I knew it was perfect for me.
“I am now looking forward to working with the staff team and parents at Little Ladybirds to ensure we continue to offer the highest quality early years education for the children.”
Lesley Thompson said: “Having opened Little Ladybirds in 2003 and seen it grow into such a successful business it was a difficult decision to sell, but in Andrea I am confident I have found someone who shares the same ethos to childcare as I do.
“Like me, she has a family-run business and is committed to running Little Ladybirds with the highest standards of service that parents have come to expect from an outstanding nursery like this.”
Andrea was advised throughout the deal by Newcastle-based specialists, Williams Ali Corporate Finance. Partner, Phil Williams, led the process having first acted for Andrea in 2007 on the start-up of the original Clever Clogs site in Belmont. He commented: “Andrea is a valued client and has become a good friend in the 14 years since we first met. We are delighted to have advised her on this excellent deal and I look forward to supporting her ambitions as her business continues to grow and thrive.”
Legal advice to Clever Clogs was provided by Alex Wilby at Swinburne Maddision. Debt funding in support of the transaction was provided by Santander, who were assisted with legal advice from Archers Law.