KKR & Co. is buying a majority stake in Spain-based vocational training company MasterD, continuing a prolific deal spree by the U.S. private equity firm in the midst of the coronavirus slump.
MasterD founder Luiz Gomez and the company’s management team will reinvest alongside KKR, according to a statement Friday. KKR is valuing the company at 150 million euros (US$177 million) including debt, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
Founded in 1994, MasterD provides more than 280 courses to over 50,000 people in Spain and Portugal via its online learning platform. KKR views the investment as a way to help tackle Spain’s high unemployment rate and the large gap between graduates’ skills and the requirements of employers, the person said.
Private equity firms are seeking to play a bigger role in the fast-growing socially responsible investing arena. The MasterD investment is the second in Europe with money from KKR’s first Global Impact Fund, which it closed at US$1.3 billion earlier this year. The fund focuses on themes including climate change, clean water and workforce development.
“MasterD is helping address a critical societal challenge in improving employability and skills, which aligns very strongly with the objectives of KKR’s strategy around impact investing,” Stanislas de Joussineau, KKR’s head of global impact for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in the statement.
KKR has been the most active private equity firm in terms of capital deployment since COVID-19 took its grip on the global economy. In March, it beat out several rival suitors to acquire Pennon Group Plc’s waste-management arm by unexpectedly tabling a fully financed offer early in the auction process. This week, KKR and fellow buyout house Ardian SAS entered into exclusive talks to buy a stake in French clinic firm Elsan.