2008 Key Highlights

  • The most active acquirer in 2008 by way of volume of transactions (6), either purchased directly or through an affiliated business, was the Washington Post Company, parent of Kaplan.
  • For the second year in a row, the Postsecondary Institutions segment saw the greatest transaction volume, with 35 deals.
  • Financially sponsored transactions in 2008 accounted for 63 percent of the value, or $3.39 billion, of closed deals. Three private equity-led buy-outs – Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Learning Care Group, Inc. and Nord Anglia Education Plc – represented nearly 41% of the $5.7 billion total.

2008 vs. 2007 Key Trends

  • Total transaction volume decreased 4 percent in 2008, from 170 deals in 2007 to 163 in 2008.
  • Total transaction value decreased 78 percent in 2008, from $26.6 billion in value in 2007 to $5.7 billion in 2008.
  • The K-12 Schools segment, including early childhood education/childcare business, K-12 private schools, and special needs/alternative schools, saw the greatest increase in transaction volume from 2007 to 2008. This segment saw 33 transactions in 2008, up 65 percent from the previous year.

Market Overview 2006-2008

Berkery Noyes tracked 495 closed transactions in the global education industry between 2006 and 2008. Of this universe, 179 transactions had disclosed enterprise values, representing $42.63 billion in aggregate value. Based on the known enterprise values and using a logarithmic scale, we project the value of the 316 undisclosed transactions to be $7.31 billion, for a total aggregate enterprise value of education transactions of $49.94 billion from 2006 to 2008.

The highest median enterprise value multiple was captured by companies sold in excess of $160 million dollars. The multiple of 2.44 times revenue is 95 percent greater than the multiples received by companies with enterprise values of $10-20 million; these firms secured a median enterprise value of 1.25 times revenue.

Education Publishing and Media Group Limited (EPMG) was the most active buyer between 2006 and 2008 in terms of transaction value. The firm purchased all or selected assets of four businesses with an aggregate enterprise value of $8.58 billion.