Manchester-headquartered Swimtime UK Ltd. – the UK’s largest swimming lesson franchise – has been sold for an undisclosed sum.

Former Swimming Teacher Association (STA) CEO Theo Millward is the new sole stakeholder of Swimtime after purchasing 100 per cent of Swimtime’s shares using private funding.

Swimtime, which operates across 26 franchise regions, has a group annual turnover of more than £4 million and was shortlisted this year in the British Franchise Association’s Award for Innovation.

Theo, 30, who brings with him six years of high-level management experience in the leisure sector, said: “Swimtime is a very successful, established brand and company, which I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with for some time through my previous work. I’m really excited to come on board at a time when there is enormous scope to develop and expand the business.

“I’m eager to get to grips with the day-to-day running of the company and look forward to meeting all franchisees in the very near future, as well as building relationships with account managers and suppliers. I have ambitious plans to invest significantly in new operations to help grow Swimtime exponentially over the next five years and beyond.”

Theo has held a variety of roles in the leisure industry, including head of IT and marketing and operations director, gaining vast experience in the learn to swim sector as well as business management.

Linda and Barry Price, co-founders of Swimtime, immediately exit from the day-today running of the business but will remain associated as consultants to Swimtime during the handover period. Linda will also continue her role as brand ambassador.

Barry said: “We’ve known Theo for over 10 years and feel he is the perfect fit for Swimtime. His understanding of the industry and enthusiasm for the learn to swim sector will be a great asset to franchisees and customers alike. We look forward to seeing the business grow, develop and flourish under his management.”

Linda added: “Having spent the last 20 years developing Swimtime from a start-up into a successful nationwide brand with 19 franchisees, we are very proud of what we’ve achieved and it will of course be sad to not be a part of the daily running of the business. However, we’re confident that Theo is the best person to drive Swimtime forward and are pleased to hand over the reins to such an enthusiastic and competent business owner.

“We would like to thank all our staff and franchisees for their hard work and determination over the years. We’re incredibly proud each and every one of them and look forward to seeing them grow further. We are also hugely grateful for the support of suppliers, pool owners and loyal customers.”

Hilton Law acted for Swimtime and Theo Millward was represented by Ennes-Gilmoe Liberson LLP. The deal was brokered by Infinity LLP.

Daniel Finestein, managing partner of private equity and investment advisory group Infinity provided corporate finance advice to the shareholders of Swimtime.

He said: “Infinity has been delighted to advise the shareholders on the sale of Swimtime UK. It is a successful operation with an excellent business model and I am sure it will continue to flourish under its new ownership.”

Click here to find out more about Swimtime.