US equity giant pays £400m for debt-laden TES publisher

The debt-laden publisher of the Times Educational Supplement (TES) has changed hands for a third time in eight years.

The American private equity giant TPG, which has $56.7bn (£38bn) of assets, has bought TSL Education for £400m from the smaller British private equity firm Charterhouse.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation owned the TES until 2005, when it was sold to Exponent Private Equity, before Charterhouse bought it two years later. Those close to the deal suggested Charterhouse had enjoyed a return of one-and-a-half times on its total investment.

Accounts for TSL Education Group show that profits before exceptional items including interest and tax rose to £32.9m last year, but pre-tax losses also climbed to £41.3m as it had £335m in bank borrowings.

The company describes itself as a global digital education business, and claims to provide resources for 52 million teachers and students, both online and in print. TPG said its investment will help to drive further expansion around the world.