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Berkery Noyes Releases First Half 2012 M&A Report For the Education Industry

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NEW YORK — July 19, 2012 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its first half 2012 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Education Industry.

The report analyzes merger and acquisition activity in the Education Industry for the first half of 2012 and compares it with activity in the four previous six-month periods from 2010 to 2011. This market includes information and technology companies servicing the Education Industry, including the K-12, Post-Secondary, Childcare Services, and Corporate and Professional segments.

The median revenue multiple in the Education Industry declined from 2.0x to 1.6x, while the median EBITDA multiple fell from 14.0x to 13.6x. Although transaction volume remained nearly the same, transaction value underwent a 74 percent decline from $6.2 billion to $1.6 billion. Deal value in second half 2011 was skewed by a few large acquisitions, mainly those of SunGard Higher Education and Blackboard. Each of the top ten transactions in second half 2011 were valued at over $100 million, but only three deals met this threshold in first half 2012.

Despite the constant overall deal flow, the Corporate and Professional Training segment experienced a 32 percent increase in volume. Vista Equity Partners was the most active related buyer, acquiring Silverchair Learning Systems and Essential Learning. CAE’s acquisition of Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA) for $315 million, a subsidiary of STAR Capital Partners Limited, was the highest value transaction in the segment. The acquisition of OAA was also the second largest Education Industry transaction in first half 2012.

Private equity buyers accounted for 31 percent of aggregate M&A volume in the report and were responsible for five of the industry’s top ten largest acquisitions. “Financial sponsors are becoming more active in the education space,” said Peter Yoon, managing director at Berkery Noyes. “As spending on training for employees increases with a recovering economy, corporate and professional training has become a growing area of interest to both financial and strategic acquirers. Also of increasing interest are education services and technology, especially those which help to improve teacher efficiency and effectiveness, including assessment and teacher professional development companies, as well as other instructional improvement systems.”

Yoon continued, “One of the most notable K-12 acquisitions in first half 2012 was that of Archipelago Learning. The subscription-based online education company was acquired by PLATO Learning, a portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, for $300 million. In addition, there will be increased interest in K-12 as the latest round of Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind waivers allow for more immediate federal funding to certain areas within the sector.”

A copy of the FIRST HALF 2012 M&A REPORT FOR THE EDUCATION INDUSTRY is available at the Berkery Noyes website.