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Alpine buys Wilson Language Training; K1 eyes Smarsh

Alpine Investors has acquired a majority stake in Wilson Language Training.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Hubsters. MK Flynn, here with the Wire.

What a jam-packed weekend. Sunday had it all: dramatic Super Bowl, hip hop halftime, entertaining ads and controversial Olympics. In New York City, it snowed, and covid cases hit their lowest level since November. I went to my first Broadway show since the pandemic began. I saw David Byrne’s “American Utopia” with friends from college, and we loved the new performances of old Talking Heads hits.

Okay, enough about my weekend. Here’s a look at today’s private equity news:
Literacy for all. Earlier this morning, Alpine Investors announced an education deal, acquiring a majority stake in Wilson Language Training, a provider of literacy programs. I discussed the deal and education investment trends with Alpine founding partner Dan Sanner and Wilson co-founder Barbara Wilson.

“The pandemic highlighted some of the systemic issues in our education system, such as the experience of teachers and the fact that we as a country are not doing a great job of teaching literacy,” Sanner said. “Wilson is a great example of a company that is a pioneer in their field – training nearly 300,000 educators and certifying over 25,000 teachers nationwide in their teacher certification program – that will benefit from added resources to scale their business and address the heightened levels of learning loss in students across the country resulting from the pandemic.”

Alpine backs companies in the software and services industries and is currently investing out of its $2.25 billion eighth fund. In addition to Wilson, Alpine’s education portfolio includes Riverside Insights, Perennial EdTech and McKissock Learning.

“The American education system has room for improvement across many fronts, and companies that are doing well to address acute problems within the system are experiencing unprecedented growth,” Sanner said. “Helping companies as they scale by offering resources and experience is one of the most compelling reasons for investment in the system from firms like Alpine that look to invest in purpose-driven companies.” Read the story for more.

And for more signs that private equity firms continue be very interested in the education sector, see Aaron’s recent story, featuring an interview with Dani Forman, Axial’s director of research.

Secondaries. K1 Investment Management is running a broad process to move nine assets out of older funds and into a continuation pool for more time and capital to manage the investments, two sources told Buyouts. Chris writes: “As a multi-asset process, the K1 deal is garnering interest from the market, which is eager to expand beyond the concentrated single-asset bets that have been all the rage recently. GP-led deals like single-and multi-asset continuation funds have been driving the market since last year, with traditional LP portfolio sales following closely behind. K1 is working with Evercore on the process. It could total $3 billion or more, sources said. Of the nine assets, the largest is software company Smarsh, which K1 acquired in 2016. Smarsh provides hosted services for archiving email, instant messaging and social media platforms.”

40 under 40. There are just a few more days to submit entries for Private Equity International’s fourth annual rising stars of private equity list. PEI’s 40 under 40: Future Leaders of Private Equity will be published online and in the Future of Private Equity Special in early May. Submit your nomination by end of day Thursday February 17 here. The list will feature individuals across five categories: Investor (LP); Fundraiser; Dealmaker; Lawyer; Operator.

Healthcare series coming up: Aaron has been lining up interviews with some of the most active PE investors in the healthcare sector. Tune in soon for a new series of articles based on the interviews. And if you’re a healthcare PE investor who’d like to share your strategy, send us email at mk.flynn@peimedia.com and aaron.W@peimedia.com.

Happy Monday,

MK