Entrepreneur Rory Vassallo has sold his 22 WA childcare centres to listed company G8 Education in a deal rumoured to be worth $65 million.
Mr Vassallo yesterday confirmed the unconditional sale of the Vassallo Corporation's portfolio of childcare centres, which is expected to settle this week, but would not confirm the value.
He said when he started in the sector 10 years ago, he had no idea it would end with a multimillion-dollar payday.
"My wife, who was my girl- friend back then, was in childcare at the time," he said.
"I sat next to her boss at a Christmas party and listened to everything about the sector. I ended up doing some research and buying a centre."
The 30-year-old said he decided to sell partly because of recent changes in national regulations which had shifted the goalposts.
A former president of the Childcare Association of WA, he said while he supported the new rules, it was widely accepted that the changes made it more difficult for groups which owned fewer than 50 childcare centres to fully realise economies of scale.
Mr Vassallo said he was determined not to make the mistake he had seen with several other entrepreneurs who had hung on to their business for too long, eventually undermining all they had built because they no longer had the momentum needed to continue growing.
"I will take some time to stop and smell the roses, and spend some time with the family," he said. "I am definitely looking to do something else, but not straight away."
G8 Education yesterday announced it had also acquired Sterling Early Education, which has 77 childcare and education centres across Australia, including about 20 in WA.
It is part of a bigger deal worth $228 million for a total of 91 childcare centres.
The deals boost the total number of childcare centres in listed G8 Education from 234 to 388.