Gordons advises Bradford-based Kinder Haven on sale of nine nurseries to Kids Planet

Monday 20th December 2021

Gordons has advised longstanding Bradford-headquartered client Kinder Haven on the sale of the company to Kids Planet, the UK’s third largest nursery group.

Kinder Haven, which runs nine settings across Bradford and Leeds, was founded in 2002 by married couple, Danielle and Darren Dixon. The company was sold for an undisclosed price.

All the nurseries are based in purpose-built facilities and are within close proximity to each other. The deal sees Kids Planet grow to 94 nurseries, providing around 7,000 childcare places.

Gordons corporate partner Duncan Firman and solicitor Stephanie Houghton led a multidisciplinary team from the firm who advised on the transaction. The team included commercial property specialists James Kimberley and Kendall Philipson and employment solicitor Bryony Goldspink.

Danielle and Darren founded Kinder Haven in 2001, buying a former pub in Bradford’s Sticker Lane with a bank loan, after compiling a successful business plan and selling their home and car.

The couple, who then had two small children and now have three, lived in one room on the first floor for 12 months while working full-time elsewhere during the days and converting the ground floor into their first nursery in the evenings.

Danielle Dixon commented: ‘Having made the decision to sell Kinder Haven, it was important for us to choose a company with a great reputation and the same ethos and values. We are delighted to have chosen Kids Planet to nurture the Kinder Haven family, continue the legacy and take it to the next level.

“Kids Planet was the right fit for us, they are a hugely successful nursery group dedicated to providing exceptional childcare with a strong commitment to staff development.

‘We would like to thank all the families and staff, past and present. It has been an honour to have been able to care for so many children and to work with such inspirational team members over the last 20 years.

“We are also thankful to have been advised and supported by our teams at law firm Gordons, accountants BHP and property advisers Christie & Co during the sale. Their professionalism and commitment has been invaluable throughout this transaction.”

Kids Planet has grown rapidly since the start of the year when it had 53 nurseries. Over the course of 2021, the group has acquired a number of other nursery groups, including 10 Poppy & Jack’s nurseries, and Learning Curve’s five settings and out-of-school clubs in Blackpool. It also won the contract to run Oxford University’s five workplace nurseries.

Clare Roberts, chief executive of Kids Planet, said, ‘We are delighted to be chosen by Darren and Danielle to take over at Kinder Haven.

“We are excited to have established a more significant presence in West Yorkshire and to be able to build upon the already high standards of care that have been implemented by the Kinder Haven management team and we immediately recognised the synergies between the two nursery groups. We look forward to working with the management team as we move forward together.’

Gordons’ Duncan Firman added: “As a firm we have worked with Danielle and Darren for a number of years, and we are very pleased to have played our role in helping Kinder Haven expand. They have been on an extraordinary journey and we are delighted to have been able to advise on the sale to Kids Planet.”

Specialist business property adviser Christie & Co advised Kinder Haven on the sale whilst financial advice was provided by Hamish Morrison, Tim Brind, Shafiq Khan and Dean Pearson from BHP accountants.