A Fusion Deal: Uniquest sold to Keystone Education Group

UniQuest, a UK-based student engagement, conversion, and retention service, has been sold to the Keystone Education Group. Fusion Corporate Partners acted as corporate advisor to Uniquest. The Fusion team was led by Paul Slight, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, UniQuest is led by co-founder & Chair Natalie Letcher and co-founder and CEO Rachel Fletcher, who will continue to oversee daily operations alongside Keystone’s executive leadership team. 

“With so much noise in the higher education sector for our university colleagues to deal with, not to mention growing student demand and increased student expectations, we provide confidence to our partners in what they’re doing despite all this change. We bring our focused and deep expertise in student engagement to Keystone. Combined with their impressive global footprint and student reach, together we will be able to help more universities around the world reach their student recruitment goals, delivering unparalleled student support,” said Rachel Fletcher, CEO of UniQuest.

“The combination of our business with Keystone will help accelerate our ability to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions. Together, we are even more well-positioned to help institutions remain competitive by enabling them to provide best-in-class, flexible support to prospective and current students,” Fletcher said.

“Combining UniQuest’s operations with Keystone’s recruitment services will enable us to offer extremely robust student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services to our 5 500 customer base, across our key geographic markets, including the US, the UK, and continental Europe,” said Erik Harrell, Keystone’s CEO.

“With the acquisition of UniQuest, we will be able to help our customers face their enrollment challenges head-on and gain an edge over their competition with the help of our end-to-end global student recruitment, enrollment, and retention services,” Harrell said.

“We are committed to serving as a strategic partner for our customers, acting more as an extension of their own recruitment and admissions teams than the traditional agency or third-party vendor models. For students, our extensive counseling services will ensure their journey to the classroom is as painless and informed as possible, helping them every step along the way.”

“This is a game-changer in the student counseling and recruitment space, presenting a unique opportunity for Keystone to disrupt and innovate the existing traditional counseling and agency model that has prevailed for years,” he said. 

“We will also be able to harness our combined data and insights from over millions of students every year to provide enhanced predictive modeling and forecasting to our customer base, making improvements along the entire recruitment value chain.” 

The deal comes at a time when institutions are facing growing enrollment challenges, from the impact of falling US domestic enrollments on US universities to the impact of Brexit on EU student applications to UK universities, all amidst a backdrop of ever-increasing global competition for student enrollments. 

The deal is the latest acquisition amid a flurry of organizational growth for the Keystone Education Group in 2021, and follows Keystone’s recent merger with EMG and acquisitions of FindAUniversity, College Scholarships USA (CSUSA), and AGM Education. 

Oslo, Norway & London, UK

Haymarket Media Group Acquires National Association for Continuing Education (NACE)

Haymarket Media GroupHaymarket Media Group has acquired the National Association for Continuing Education (NACE), a Florida-based live medical education business. NACE will complement Haymarket Medical Education and its global medical education website, myCME. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 2001, NACE has built a respected reputation for delivering Continuing Education live conferences for healthcare professionals.

NACE offers live conferences in over 40 cities and enduring programmes to engage learners and increase their knowledge, competence, and professional performance with the most up-to-date, science-based information on a variety of topics. NACE was awarded Accreditation with Commendation by the ACCME and is an approved provider of continuing education by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

The NACE acquisition grows Haymarket’s reach in continuing education, by adding 53,000 learners to Haymarket’s audience of 2.2 million healthcare professionals and deepening its best-in-class reputation with certified healthcare education covering the spectrum of interprofessional healthcare audiences.

Haymarket Media Group Global CEO, Kevin Costello said, “The acquisition of NACE reinforces our position as the leading full-service provider of medical education. Their expertise in the live space perfectly complements our continuing medical education portfolio and I am thrilled to have them on board.”

Lee Maniscalco, CEO of Haymarket Media, Inc. said, “As in-person CE activities remain an integral and required part of how clinicians learn, the acquisition of NACE will allow Haymarket to build upon the strengths of this educational format in unprecedented ways.”

UK, Twickenham & USA, Plantation, FL

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Pearson to sell its US K12 courseware business to Nexus Capital Management for $250M

Pearson LogoEducation business Pearson has agreed to sell its US K12 courseware business to alternative asset investment management company Nexus Capital Management LP for $250 million, made up of an initial cash payment of $25 million plus an unconditional vendor note for $225 million expected to be repaid in three to seven years. Following the repayment of the vendor note, Pearson is entitled to 20% of all future cash flows to equity holders and 20% of net proceeds in the event the business is sold.

Pearson’s US K12 courseware business provides textbooks and instructional resources to help teachers and students at every stage of K12 learning in the United States.  It employs approximately 1,330 people. It had gross assets of £648 million and net assets of £75 million as at 31 December 2018 and generated around £364 million of revenue and approximately £20 million of adjusted and statutory operating profit in 2018. The transaction is expected to complete at the end of the first quarter of 2019.

John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive, said:

“School publishing in America has been an important part of Pearson for many years, and what it does matters to teachers and students across the country. We’re pleased to have found new owners who are committed to its future, and we wish it every success.  The sale frees us up to focus on the digital first strategy that will drive our future growth. Through our assessment, virtual school, advanced placement and career and technical education programmes, we will still serve schools across America and we will now be better placed to focus on the areas in which we can best help their students to be successful in their studies and future careers.”

UK, London & USA, Los Angeles, CA

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Bertram Group acquires Education Umbrella in first bolt-on acquisition under new ownership

Bertram BooksThe Bertram Group has acquired Education Umbrella, a leading supplier of books and digital learning resources, in its first strategic bolt-on acquisition under its new ownership. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Bristol-based Umbrella Education provides print and digital learning resources to schools around the world. Founded in 2011, the company has launched Education Umbrella Press, a digital publishing platform and technologies including TECbook, an online eBook system which converts books from top educational publishers into digital format and TECvideo, a video-based learning tool.

Chief financial officer of Bertram Group Nicholas Goodwin said: “We are delighted to announce Bertram Group’s strategic acquisition of Education Umbrella, a company which in a short time has grown to become one of the key players in its market. Education Umbrella is an exciting business that with sound financial backing has great potential for future development as part of Bertram Group.”

UK, Norwich & Bristol

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GroupM to acquire majority stake in The Glitch in India

The GlitchWPP’s wholly-owned global media investment group, GroupM, is to acquire a majority stake in The Glitch, a digitally-led creative agency. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The Glitch was founded in 2009 and employs around 200 people in Mumbai and Delhi. The Glitch’s full-service capabilities include digital, video and content strategy, interactive design technology, ecommerce, branding and media planning. Clients include Unilever, Netflix, OYO Rooms, Shutterstock, Tinder and others in the entertainment, beauty and FMCG sectors.

The Glitch’s revenues for the year ending 31 March 2017 were around INR 214 million with gross assets of around INR 175 million as at the same date.

The WPP group has invested in other digital content companies like All Def Digital, Fullscreen, Gimlet, Indigenous Media, Imagina (a content rights and media company based in Spain), MRC, Mic, Mitú, Refinery29, Uproxx Media Group and VICE. WPP’s roster of wholly owned digital agencies include AKQA, Blue State Digital, Essence, F.biz, Mirum, POSSIBLE, Triad Retail Media, VML and Wunderman.

UK, London & India, Mumbai & Delhi

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Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital to acquire Wall Street English from Pearson

wse-logo@2xBaring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital Holdings Limited are acquiring Wall Street English, the provider of English language training to adults, from Pearson Plc.

Founded in 1972, WSE serves around 180,000 learners per year through 70 corporate owned centers in China, 9 corporate owned centers in Italy and 321 franchised centers across 27 territories. It has over 3 million graduates to date.

in 2016 WSE contributed £175 million in revenue to Pearson, an adjusted operating profit of £7m and a statutory operating profit of £4m. The business had approximately 3,600 employees at the end of June 2017.

The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. However, Pearson announced that the transaction is expected to generate gross cash to Pearson of around $300 million after adjustments for assumed deferred revenue and historical tax liabilities. Tax and net transaction costs are expected to be around $50 million.

Yan JIAO, Managing Director of BPEA, commented: “Wall Street English has a great brand in the adult English learning training space, and has proven its capabilities in the fast-growing China market where it holds a leading position. We believe WSE has great potential to grow as an independent company and are pleased to have a high quality leadership team in place. We look forward to partnering with CITIC Capital and drawing upon our previous experience in the private education sector to take the business forward in both China and the rest of the world.”

Dejun LUO, Managing Director of CITIC Capital, commented: “Wall Street English has built a solid foundation in China over its 17 years of operation. Its best-of-class teaching methodology, software and industry know-how are matched by no other in helping students improve their English language capability and achieve their development goals. We are eager to harness the energy and enthusiasm of WSE’s staff and instructors to bring this unique study experience to consumers in more cities across China and other parts of the world. We are here to unleash the immense energy and limitless potential of WSE with our unrivalled resources and network.”

Hong Kong & UK, London

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RWS Holdings plc to acquire life sciences language services provider LUZ

rwsRWS Holdings plc, a provider of intellectual property support services (patent translations, international patent filing solutions and searches), commercial translations and linguistic validation, is to acquire LUZ, Inc., a US based life sciences language services provider for $82.5 million. RWS is placing 12.1 million new Ordinary Shares to raise £40 million to part-fund the Acquisition. The balance will be funded from a new $26.3 million banking facility with Barclays Bank as well as existing RWS cash resources.The acquisition is expected to complete on 17 February 2017 following completion of the Placing.

luzBased in San Francisco with around 100 employees, LUZ is a life sciences translation provider, specialising in medical devices and regulatory activities. LUZ services a number of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Services include translation, desktop publishing, client review coordination, and project management.

In the year to 31 December 2016, LUZ delivered revenue of $29.2 million (2015: $23.7 million; 2014: $21.2 million) and operating profit of $7.7 million (2015: $3.6 million; 2014: $3.4 million).

The operational management team of LUZ is expected to continue in current roles; the founders and current owners will exit in full after a short transition period.

Andrew Brode, Chairman of RWS, commented: “We are delighted to be acquiring LUZ which, together with CTi, will strengthen the Enlarged Group as a leading player in the global Life Sciences translation space, with a significant presence across North America, Europe and Asia. We are also pleased with the level of support we have received from existing shareholders and new institutional investors in the Placing.”

UK, Chalfont St Peter & USA, San Francisco, CA

Wilmington acquires JMH Publishing Limited (Wellards)

WilmingtonWilmington plc has acquired JMH Publishing  Ltd, a UK provider of specialist and accredited online education for the healthcare industry and owner of the trading brand “Wellards“.

As part of Wilmington, Wellards will become the principal education and training platform for the Insight division and will benefit from Wilmington’s enhanced healthcare market access, both in the UK and in mainland Europe.

WellardsWilmington is acquiring Wellards for an initial consideration of £4.2m payable in cash. Wellards is being acquired with £1.3m of cash in its balance sheet. A final payment of up to £0.9m in March 2016 will be made once the final net current asset position has been agreed.

Wellards, established in 1990 is based in Kent, England and is managed by its founder John Heath, CEO who will remain with the business for a transitional period of one year.

Wellards runs over 70 online courses and has more than 25,000 registered users. Subjects covered include critical areas for pharma industry representatives such as market access and financial flows, clinical modules of key therapy areas such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular health, ABPI code and compliance. Over 70% of its revenue is generated by its online training portal, Wellards Academy, which services the needs of UK pharmaceutical and Medtech commercial staff.

In the twelve month period ended 31 October 20151, revenue per the unaudited management accounts was £2.0m, an increase of 12 percent on the same period in 2014 and the adjusted profit before interest, amortisation and taxation was £0.6m1.  Gross assets were 2.0m1. Over 70% of its revenue is subscription based with over 90% renewal rates.

Pedro Ros, Chief Executive Officer of Wilmington, said: “I am delighted to welcome Wellards to Wilmington; its addition completes one of our strategic objectives of having information, education and networking capabilities for each of our knowledge areas. I am particularly excited by the scalability of the online products both in the broader healthcare industry and internationally where we can utilise our existing market access in particular to the French and German healthcare markets.”

UK, London & Eridge, East Sussex

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LinkedIn is to acquire lynda.com for around $1.5Bn

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 14.28.51LinkedIn is to acquire lynda.com, an online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills. Based in Carpinteria, CA, lynda.com was co-founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin.

The transaction is valued at approximately $1.5 billion, approximately 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015. Most members of the lynda.com team are expected to join LinkedIn.

Through a subscription to lynda.com’s service, individual members and organisations have access to a comprehensive collection of courses taught by industry experts, offered in English, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese. In addition to individual subscribers, lynda.com serves corporate, government and educational organizations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus, lyndaLibrary and lyndaKiosk products.

“The mission of LinkedIn and the mission of lynda.com are highly aligned. Both companies seek to help professionals be better at what they do,” said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. “lynda.com’s extensive library of premium video content helps empower people to develop the skills needed to accelerate their careers. When integrated with the hundreds of millions of members and millions of jobs on LinkedIn, lynda.com can change the way in which people connect to opportunity.”

Further Reading:

Ryan Roslansky, head of global content products at LinkedIn, blogged in more detail about the acquisition here. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, wrote a post about the acquisition here, and Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com,  posted about it here.

Mountain View, CA & Carpinteria, CA

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Tribal Group acquires Callista Software Services 

tribalTribal Group plc, a provider of software and services for education management, has acquired Callista Software Services Pty Ltd, a provider of student management systems to the Australian university market for AUD 3.4 million.

Callista, which is based in Geelong and Melbourne, Australia, provides its software to a quarter of all Australian universities.   Its unaudited revenue  for the year ended 31 December 2014 was AUD 15.9 million, and operating profit was AUD 1.6 million.   The value of gross assets at 31 December 2014 was AUD 14.1 million.  Tribal will pay a total consideration of AUD 3.6 million in cash in equal instalments over a three year period.

Keith Evans, Chief Executive of Tribal, commented: “This transaction continues Tribal’s development in Australia, and allows us swiftly to offer our proven university software capabilities to an increased number of new customers across Australia.  Following our acquisition of Sky Software and Human Edge in 2014, and our recently announced contract wins in Queensland and Tasmania, Tribal is now a leading student management software provider to each of the university, college and schools markets in Australia.

UK, Bristol & Australia, Geelong, Victoria

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