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Bright Horizons Buys U.K.'s kidsunlimited

By Rich Smith - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:53PM

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And gets the business for a really good price, too.

Watertown, Mass.-based Bright Horizons Family Solutions (BFAM 0.06%), the international employer-sponsored child care and education company, is expanding its business in one country in particular this week. On Thursday, Bright Horizons announced that it has acquired Britain's kidsunlimited, operator of 64 nurseries in England and Scotland.

Although already present in the country for some time, Bright Horizons says that buying kidsunlimited "solidifies [its] position as the leader in providing high-quality employer sponsored child care throughout the U.K." With kidsunlimited now in-house, Bright Horizons will be operating a total of 203 nurseries in the U.K., with the capacity to take care of 15,500 children. Bright Horizons says it expects the transaction to begin producing profits for it in 2014.

Bright Horizons paid £45 million (about $69.2 million) for its new acquisition. Relative to kidsunlimited's £41 million in 2012 revenues, this works out to a price-to-sales ratio of 1.1 -- a significant discount to the 2.0 P/S ratio that Bright Horizons' own shares command.

Regardless, investor enthusiasm about the deal was muted. Shares rose only 0.3% in Thursday trading, closing at $33.35.

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