Providence Equity Partners has bought Study Group, a private education provider, for A$660 million (U.S. $570 million). CHAMP Private Equity and Petersen Investments were the sellers. Providence Equity, a private equity firm based in Providence, R.I., invests in media, communication, entertainment and information services.
Leading global private education provider Study Group has been sold to private equity firm Providence Equity Partners for A$660 million (US$570 million).
Providence, which already has a substantial portfolio of education investments, will purchase shares in Study Group owned by CHAMP Private Equity and Petersen Investments.
Current Study Group Executive Chairman and founding shareholder Arvid Petersen has assumed the position of Non-Executive Chairman and will continue as a shareholder in the company.
In the past 10 years, Study Group has become a global leader in private education by providing a complete range of university access, language and career education courses for international students.
Study Group has more than 55,000 students at 38 campuses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and a market-leading network of alliances with internationally focused universities in these markets, with 70 university and college partnerships in the US, 12 in the UK and seven in Australia and New Zealand.
Its stand-alone schools include Bellerbys College in the UK, Taylors College in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian College of Physical Education, the Australian Institute of Applied Science, and Martin College in Australia. In addition, Study Group owns and operates 19 year-round Embassy CES language schools.
Mr Petersen said: “This is the next step in the evolution of the business, given our success in the past four years.
“Providence will continue to invest in the business and build on the excellent work done by management.”
Study Group Global Chief Executive Officer Heith Mackay-Cruise said: “This sale to one of the
world’s biggest education investors recognises our past 10 years, which has seen us grow
student numbers to more than 55,000 worldwide today.
“We are a global leader in the private higher education, language and the career education
segments in which we operate, in the United States, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“Management has had a clear strategy for the business and the successful sale recognises the
success of that vision.
“We are very excited to partner with Providence, especially given their breadth of experience
partnering with education service providers. We look forward to working with the Providence
team to continue growing the company and meeting the needs of our expanding student base.”
Providence Managing Director Peter O. Wilde said Study Group was a natural fit alongside
Providence’s other education investments, including Assessment Technologies Institute,
Archipelago Learning, Edline, and Education Management Corporation.
“Students around the world are increasingly seeking education opportunities outside their
country of origin and demanding high quality teaching and personal support, particularly in
university, vocational and English language programs,” he said.
“With its award winning education programs and facilities and an unparalleled network of
partnerships with specialist education counselors and universities around the world, Study
Group is exceptionally well positioned to meet this important and rapidly growing demand
among international students.”
Patrick Corso, Managing Director and head of Providence’s Hong Kong office, said: “Heith and
his team are pioneers in serving international students and have established high standards for
the education they provide and the support they offer their students.
“We share their commitment to operational excellence and look forward to supporting the
company’s growth and adding value over the long-term.”
CHAMP Private Equity Managing Director Ben Sebel said: “Over the last four years we’ve added
significant value to the business, working alongside Arvid Petersen and a strong management
team led by Heith Mackay-Cruise.
“Study Group has grown substantially through new product development and acquisitions to
become a world-class education business.”
“We’re pleased that Providence will continue to back management to grow the business even
CHAMP Private Equity Director Darren Smorgon added: “Investment returns were driven by
outstanding EBITDA growth, with significant investments in capital to upgrade existing facilities,
expand campuses globally and develop new higher education products.”
Goldman Sachs served as financial advisor to Providence. Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank were
joint financial advisors for Study Group.