News Release

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Invests in Learning Pool


Award Winning e-Learning Company Moves to Next Phase of Growth With New Investor Partner

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) has invested in Learning Pool, the Northern Ireland based e-learning company which delivers cost effective online learning solutions to organisations throughout the United Kingdom. The company enjoys a significant presence in the UK market where over 80% of local councils use Learning Pool for effective staff training.  CCI, the private-equity fund established by The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and Cardinal Capital Group to undertake investments on the island of Ireland, will partner with existing management and staff to continue the company’s growth and drive product innovation. The financial terms of the investment have not been disclosed.

Founded in 2006 by CEO Paul McElvaney, Derry-based Learning Pool now employs 80 people servicing clients in the UK, Ireland and internationally. Every day a community of 1.25 million learners across 350 companies and government bodies uses Learning Pool’s products and services to meet compliance requirements and drive performance improvement. Learning Pool’s award winning technology and training catalogues are used by a range of companies in both the public and private sectors. Customer organisations include the NHS, the UK Houses of Parliament, Jury’s Inn, Capita, and British Sugar.

Learning Pool’s decision to partner with CCI was driven by the fund’s global contacts and strategic experience in growing similar sized companies. The investment from CCI will help Learning Pool continue to build out the team and develop new, innovative products to serve existing customers and attract new ones. Learning Pool’s existing management team, including CEO Paul McElvaney, will continue in their current leadership roles and are investing further as shareholders in the business.   Jonathan Cosgrave  and John Dolan from CCI will join the board of directors of Learning Pool.

Paul McElvaney, CEO, Learning Pool said: “We have always believed in Learning Pool’s potential to take on the world and have doubled our business over the last three years. In CCI we believe we have exactly the right partners to help us develop our business and help us realise that potential. This investment will fast track our growth and allows us to build out our technology and content at a quicker pace for our customers benefit. I’m excited about the next phase of Learning Pool’s growth that will see us deliver more product innovation and significant expansion of our customer base and our team.”

Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group said: “Learning Pool is well positioned to continue growing its share of the estimated £675 million UK e-learning market. We’ve been impressed with Learning Pool’s innovative technologies, quality of service and the entrepreneurial leadership team, and we look forward to supporting further growth of the business. We’re also delighted to complete our first investment in Northern Ireland and we continue to look at other potential investments in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group said: “The recent trend has been for companies to spend more of their training budgets online. The ease of access for employees from mobile devices together with a more consistent experience means the e-learning market is growing at over 10% each year. Learning Pool is ideally placed to meet this demand with their online offering and training catalogues which companies can customise as they require. Effectively, Learning Pool provides its customers with a one-stop solution for their e-learning needs.”

Equity for the investment will come from Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, a €292 million private equity fund focused on growth capital and buyout investment opportunities across the island of Ireland. The fund has previously completed investments in Abtran, a business process-management company, Tullamore-based cooked meats producer Carroll Cuisine, Kildare-based premium chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s, General Secure Logistics Services (GSLS), an Irish cash management solutions provider, and Payzone, the largest provider of multi-channel consumer payments across Ireland.

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Press Contact:

Cardinal Capital Group
Tom McEnaney, McEnaney Media
Tel: +353 87 2222 666

The Carlyle Group
Laurie Mannix, MKC Communications
Tel. +353 1 703 8620 Mob: 086 814 3710

About Learning Pool
Leaning Pool is Northern Ireland’s largest e-learning company. Founded in Derry in 2006 by Paul McElvaney, Learning Pool’s 80 employees deliver a one-stop-shop solution for organisations seeking consistent and cost effective online learning services to train their employees.

Customer organisations typically use Learning Pool’s online learning services to meet a compliance requirement or to improve organisational performance. Learning Pool provide a hosted online-learning management system that allows training to be published, tracked and reported, and a library of online content catalogues that can be tailored to individual customer training requirements. Through Learning Pool’s annual subscription offering, customers benefit from a flat-rate affordable solution which is capable of delivering the appropriate training to their learners regardless of when or where learner access is required.

Learning Pool’s clients include Government bodies, public sector organisations and mid-to-large corporates operating across a range of sectors. The company has a significant presence in the hospitality, healthcare and public sectors. Customers include the NHS; Amway; Jury’s Inn; Somerset County Council; the UK Houses of Parliament, Capita, British Sugar, St James Hospital (Dublin), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK), and the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.

An award-winning company, Learning Pool achieved the highest possible accreditation of three stars in the 2016 Sunday Times list of Top 100 companies to work for - an accolade reserved for companies regarded to be ‘extraordinary’. CEO Paul McElvaney was named SME Director of the Year for Northern Ireland by the Institute of Directors in April 2016. In 2015, Learning Pool was named one of Ireland’s fastest growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards, won the Institute of Customer Service, Customer Focus Award and was recognised by the Learning and Performance Institute as their Learning Provider of the Year.

Twitter: @LearningPool

Carlyle Cardinal Ireland
Carlyle Cardinal Ireland is a joint venture between The Carlyle Group and Cardinal Capital Group.

About The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with $178 billion of assets under management across 125 funds and 164 fund of funds vehicles as of March 31, 2016. Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, many of whom are public pensions. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Investment Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,650 people in 36 offices across six continents


About Cardinal Capital Group
Cardinal is Ireland’s leading provider of alternative capital, directing private-equity capital, mezzanine finance and alternative lending to a broad range of sectors in the Irish market. Cardinal invests its own capital alongside institutional funders to support entrepreneurs and corporate management teams as well as real estate investors and developers.


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