Access to Music (‘ATM’), the UK’s leading designer and provider of popular music education, training and consultancy, has been acquired by Armstrong Learning Ltd. Livingstone's Business Services team advised the shareholders of ATM on the transaction.
Founded in 1992, Access to Music provides music education, training and consultancy to thousands of musicians across the country. As well as music, it equips these people with valuable life skills which can be transferred to any occupation. ATM’s high-profile patrons include Sir George Martin CBE, Nitin Sawhney and Jools Holland.
Armstrong Learning, founded by Adrian Armstrong in 2001, is a major provider of specialist training and support for people in the music and creative industries, as well as employability and mentoring training. The acquisition of ATM is being part-funded from a new loan facility provided by Royal Bank of Scotland.
John Ridgeon, founder and Director of ATM, explains: “After 25 years at the helm, I wanted to find the right person to hand the business on to. It was important to me that whoever took over Access to Music had the same level of passion – for music and for the students. Livingstone understood this immediately, and were able to work constructively with Adrian to make sure that the deal itself didn’t get in the way of the relationship and the opportunities.”
Adrian Armstrong, CEO of Armstrong Learning, commented: “We are delighted to be acquiring Access to Music, which fits perfectly with our current provision and plans for the future. It is a highly attractive and high quality business, with exceptional relationships within the industry.” Tony Bell, Commercial Director of Armstrong Learning, continues: “We found the Livingstone team to be invaluable, helping us to anticipate and address the bank’s queries, and to structure the deal in the right way to make sure we could secure the funding.”
Daniel Domberger, the Livingstone Director who led the deal, explains: “Like our recent sale of data-business Ai to Communisis plc, this deal highlights the fact that banks remain willing to support credible acquirers with clear and well-articulated strategies for growth. This transaction brings together the two national leaders in music education with clear benefits to both, and a natural succession path for John.”
Within Livingstone’s Business Services team, a dedicated Human Capital sector group focuses on delivering independent strategic and corporate finance advice to successful business owners and management teams in the training and recruitment sectors. The ATM is the most recent of a succession of deals completed by the group in the UK vocational training market.
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