2017 Key Highlights

  • Financial sponsors were responsible for nine of the top ten highest value transactions in 2017. The only strategic deal in the top ten list was Strayer Education’s announced merger with Capella Education Company for $786 million.
  • The largest transaction in the Professional Training Services segment during the year was Blackstone Group and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s announced acquisition of Ascend Learning, which offers educational content and online tools for students, educational institutions and employers, with a particular focus on healthcare and other licensure-driven occupations, for $2 billion.

2017 Key Trends

  • Total transaction volume in 2017 remained almost constant over 2016, at 390.
  • Total transaction value in 2017 more than tripled over 2016, from $5.07 billion to $16.79 billion. This followed a 73 percent decline from 2015 to 2016. Of note, there were 24 deals in 2017 with disclosed values above $100 million, as opposed to seven deals in 2016 and 28 deals in 2015.
  • The median revenue multiple from 2016 to 2017 stayed the same at 2.1x. The median EBITDA multiple increased from 8.7x in 2016 to 10.2x in 2017.
  • The segment with the largest rise in volume in 2017 over 2016 was K-12 Institutions with an 53 percent increase, from 30 to 46 transactions.

M&A Market Overview

Berkery Noyes tracked 1,210 Education transactions between 2015 and 2017, of which 247 disclosed financial terms, and calculated the aggregate value to be $31.96 billion. Based on known transaction values, we project values of 963 undisclosed transactions to be $8.83 billion, totaling $40.79 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 2.0x revenue and 9.6x EBITDA.