Founder to remain at helm as Ayrshire edtech firm is bought by Swedish peer

Scottish software specialist Giglets Education has been acquired by a Swedish peer in a seven-figure deal that will see its founder remain in place.

The online literacy software company, which is based in Kilmarnock, has sealed the deal with ILT Education, an education technology - or edtech - player headquartered in Sweden.

The deal, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, will see Giglets chief executive and co-founder Craig Johnstone remain in his role and continue to grow the business from its Ayrshire base.

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Giglets enables schools and teachers to improve literacy results and raise learning standards in the classroom and at home, with more than 120,000 pupils and 40,000 teachers already using the firm’s award-winning literacy platform.

The seven-figure deal will see Giglets CEO and founder Craig Johnstone remain in his role and continue to grow the business from its Kilmarnock base. Picture: Sandy Young Photography
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Started at school as part of an enterprise project before being spun out as a digital business from the University of Strathclyde, the venture has developed a suite of content for education, with more than 1,100 digital titles.

The deal follows an extended period of growth for Giglets, which turns over about £1 million a year. The firm has recently expanded internationally, with a team in Canada serving the Canadian and North American markets.

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Together with its new owner, Giglets is aiming to “significantly accelerate” its growth, both in the UK and internationally.

The core team of 12 will be retained. Chairman Karsten Karcher will exit to focus on his other interests.

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ILT Education is backed by the private equity firm Trill Impact, a Pan-European impact investor focused on investing in businesses that generate significant environmental and societal benefits.

Johnstone said: “Giglets becoming part of the ILT Education family is recognition of the robust and profitable business we’ve been to create over the last ten years. This private equity backed acquisition comes as we look to accelerate our growth across the UK, Ireland and internationally and at a time when the edtech market has never been more buoyant.

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“I’m delighted to be staying at the helm of Giglets and continuing to lead the business in the next phase of our growth journey, whilst remaining focused on delivering world-class teaching and learning experiences for our customers and users.

“This is also fantastic news for Ayrshire, as we further secure existing jobs and work towards plans to grow the team to around 20 over the next two years.”

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Jakob Skogholm, chief executive of ILT Education, said: “This acquisition marks an important milestone in ILT’s internationalisation, particularly in the sizeable and attractive UK market.

“We have been impressed by Giglets’ people, culture and products. By joining forces with Giglets, we will be able to provide a broader and stronger suite of products towards a wider group of pupils and educators, further strengthening our mission to improve literacy and promote multilingualism across the world.”

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The seller was supported by the team at Grant Thornton for corporate finance advisory, Martin Aitken & Co for accountancy and tax, and Harper Macleod for legal services.

The buyer was supported by the team at Alvarez & Marsal for accountancy and tax due diligence, and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang for legal.

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