Braeburn Schools finalizes deal to acquire prestigious Hillcrest International

KENYA – Braeburn Schools Limited, a group of co-educational international schools offering British/International curricula in Kenya and Tanzania, has reached a deal to acquire Hillcrest International, a British private international day and boarding school located in Nairobi.

The schools said they reached the deal in principle on January 20, 2022, paving the way for the sale transaction by the start of the third term of the 2021/22 academic year.

The sale agreement is however subject to approvals from Kenya’s Ministry of Education and the competition watchdog.

Hillcrest School’s sale, whose financial details remain undisclosed, marks the third change in the ownership of elite learning institution in the last 11 years.

“On completion of the sale transaction, Braeburn intends to continue operating the Hillcrest Schools under the Hillcrest brand and offer the highest quality of international curriculum education,” the schools said in a joint statement.

“We at Braeburn are very excited at the prospect of adding the Hillcrest Schools to the Braeburn Group. Students, parents and staff can look forward to a smooth transition and a progressive world-class international school.”

The sale of Hillcrest School comes three years after the institution was acquired by the Dubai-based GEMS Education for Sh2.6 billion (US$23 million).

Gems Education acquired it from private equity firm Fanisi Capital helping the Dubai chain of schools to expand in the local market, adding to its Nairobi-based GEMS Cambridge International School.

Fanisi Capital-led by IT gurus, Ayisi Makatiani and Anthony Wahome had bought Hillcrest from the family of the late Kenyan politician Kenneth Matiba in 2011, ending the 37-year old hold of the elite learning institution by the politician.

Hillcrest Schools were founded in the 1960s and purchased by the late Kenneth Matiba, one of Kenya’s most powerful politicians in 1974.

The deal will see Braeburn evaluate Hillcrest School’s operations to develop a long-term, a move that signals review of the teaching and support staff numbers at the institution.

Braeburn Schools Limited said that Hillcrest Schools will however continue operating under the Hillcrest brand.

Braeburn currently operates nine campuses under the Braeburn and Braeside names in Kenya and neighboring Tanzania.

In Kenya, Braeburn has campuses in Nanyuki, Thika, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi, and Lavington while in Tanzania, the school has its campus in Arusha.

On the latest deal, shareholders of Gems International Schools said: “Gems is very pleased to have found a successful educational group to take over the operation of Hillcrest schools as GEMS repositions its operations in East Africa. We are certain that Braeburn will take the Hillcrest Schools to great success.”

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