2020 Key Highlights 

Professional Training Services, which saw volume increase ten percent on a yearly basis, surpassed K-12 Media and Tech as the industry’s most active segment in 2020.

Three of the industry’s top five highest value transactions during the year occurred in the combined Professional Training Services and Technology segments.

Along these lines were Vista Equity Partners’ announced acquisition of Pluralsight, a technology learning platform for software developers, IT administrators, and creative professionals, for $3.89 billion; Churchill Capital Corp II’s announced merger with Skillsoft, which provides cloud-based corporate learning content, for $1.3 billion (following the closing of the merger, the combined company will acquire Global Knowledge for $233 million); and Cambium Learning Group’s announced acquisition of Rosetta Stone, a technology-based learning solutions company best known for its language programs, for $735 million.

2020 Key Trends

Total transaction volume in 2020 declined by 11 percent over 2019, from 480 to 428. On a half year basis, M&A activity improved five percent in 2nd Half 2020 over 1st Half 2020, from 209 to 219.

Total transaction value in 2020 rose by 63 percent over 2019, from $13.04 billion to $21.31 billion.

The median revenue multiple declined from 2.8x in 2019 to 2.5x in 2020.

The segment with the largest rise in volume in 2020 over 2019 was Professional Training Technology, which improved 22 percent, from 64 to 78 deals.

M&A Market Overview

Berkery Noyes tracked 1,349 Education transactions between 2018 and 2020, of which 252 disclosed financial terms, and calculated the aggregate value to be $38.44 billion. Based on known transaction values, we project values of 1,097 undisclosed transactions to be $12.04 billion, totaling $50.48 billion worth of transactions tracked over the past three years.

Disclosed median enterprise value multiples for all segments combined in this report during the last 36 months were 2.3x revenue and 8.7x EBITDA.