A chorus of private equity houses including KKR and CapVest have tabled preliminary bids for Lifetime Training, the UK-based apprenticeship provider owned by Silverfleet Capital, EducationInvestor Global can exclusively reveal.

This publication has learnt that Houlihan Lokey, the investment bank overseeing the auction of Lifetime Training on behalf of its private equity parent, collected first-round bids for the business last week, with price expectations currently sitting at around £200 million.

London-headquartered buyout groups Bowmark Capital and Charterhouse Capital Partners are also understood to have placed bids.

According to one source, Lifetime Training is being marketed as having EBITDA of around £20 million – suggesting a price-to-earnings multiple of around 10 is being targeted by auctioneers.

KKR, one of the world’s largest private equity groups, is understood to have filed a bid through its $1.3 billion Global Impact Fund, which it closed last month.

According to a press release, the fund is “dedicated to investment opportunities in companies whose core business models provide commercial solutions to an environmental or social challenge”.

Silverfleet Capital acquired Lifetime Training from rival mid-market private equity group Sovereign Capital in 2016 for between £115 million and £120 million. At the time, Lifetime Training recorded EBITDA of around £11 million.

Silverfleet Capital drafted in bankers from Houlihan Lokey last July to explore options around a sale of the business, as reported exclusively by this publication.

News of the first bidding round comes hot on the heels of Agilitas Private Equity’s £100 million purchase of Learning Curve, another UK-based apprenticeship provider, reported exclusively by this publication.

Founded in 1995, Lifetime Training skills some 20,000 people a year through its level two and three apprenticeship schemes. It was named apprenticeship training provider of the year in 2019 by RateMyApprenticeship.

According to its website, Lifetime Training counts among its corporate clients organisations such as Pret A Manger, McDonald’s and Pure Gym.

Houlihan Lokey declined to comment on its own position and on behalf of its client, Silverfleet Capital.

Spokespeople for KKR and CapVest all declined to comment.

Bowmark Capital and Charterhouse Capital Partners had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.