LONDON (Dow Jones) — BC Partners said Monday it has agreed to buy U.S. adult education company ATI Holding, the buyout firm’s first foray into the sector and only its second deal in the U.S.
The London-based company didn’t disclose financial details but a person close to the firm said the deal was worth around $500 million and was being financed with 50% in cash and the balance in debt underwritten by Goldman Sachs (GS).
ATI operates 24 career training centers located in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico, serving 15,000 students and offering diplomas, certificates, and associate degree programs in allied health, wellness, skilled trades, business and IT in addition to academic subjects.
Adult education is a booming business in the U.S. where only 34% of people aged over 25 have an associate degree, which is equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college or university degree. Post-secondary education has grown at a rate of nearly 7% a year since 1980 and is set to continue growing as high unemployment increases the need for recognized qualifications.
While this is BC Partners first investment in the sector, other private equity firms have been active in the U.S. adult education businesses for some years.