March 14, 2012

Emma Watson's old drama school Stagecoach Theatre Arts is sold for £6.5m (11 PICS)

Emma Watson enrolled at Stagecoach Theatre Arts School in Oxfordshire
The founders of a drama school attended by Harry Potter star Emma Watson have agreed to a £6.5million takeover by a private investor.

Stagecoach Theatre Arts was set up by drama teacher Stephanie Manuel and banker David Sprigg in 1988 from three rented rooms in Surrey, but it now has some 700 schools across the globe.

The takeover offer from Shirin Gandhi, who is working with the existing management team, will see Mr Sprigg receive £1.9million and exit the company, whereas Ms Manuel will sell about half her stake for £1million and will stay on a part-time basis.

Shares in Stagecoach soared 24.5p to trade at 63.50p by late morning.

The school was opened after Ms Manuel, an actor, writer and drama teacher, spotted a niche in the market for a dance, drama and singing school for children between the ages of four and 18.

She teamed up with Mr Sprigg, who describes himself as a failed rock star who was 'rescued' from his job at Barclays where he was a lending manager.

Famous pupils: Harry Potter star Emma Watson attended a Stagecoach drama school
The business started with three schools in rented rooms, in Richmond, Redhill and Woking, but it developed into a franchise business and now has 684 schools across the globe including the US and Australia.

Some 600 of its operations are in the UK, where it teaches some 34,000 students a year.

Apart from Ms Watson, other famous pupils include Tom Fletcher, lead singer in McFly.

In recently-released results for the half-year to 30 November 2011, Stagecoach admitted UK student numbers had fallen during a 'difficult economic period'.

It reported a £66,000 pre-tax loss against a £72,000 profit in the same period the year before. 

Network fees, reflecting total school fees earned over the period by its franchisees, decreased slightly to £12.9million from £13.2 million, reflecting the reduction in students.

Stock trend: Stagecoach shares took off after news of the takeover broke









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