Halyard Education Partners, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, announced today the acquisition of WorldClass Strategy, one of the leading providers of performance-based interactive marketing services to the higher education industry. Through this acquisition Halyard Education Partners has created one of the largest networks of web sites and capabilities that support the postsecondary education market with online marketing services for student acquisition and retention.
“This acquisition makes Halyard Education Partners one of the largest and most comprehensive resources for prospective students seeking educational options and, in turn, colleges and universities to acquire and retain students,” said Steve Isaac, CEO of Halyard Education Partners. “With the addition of WorldClass Strategy, Halyard Education Partners will generate nearly 3 million unique visitors a month and, in turn, deliver more than 2.4 million prospective students to institutions this year alone.”
Seattle-based WorldClass Strategy provides a unique blend of interactive marketing services, including search engine optimization, media buying, online ad placement, sales lead generation, analytics, creative design, as well as sophisticated ROI modeling and campaign tracking. In addition to the full suite of interactive marketing services, WorldClass Strategy operates EarnMyDegree.com, one of the most popular lead generation sites for the online education and distance learning industries. Named one of the Top 50 Interactive Ad Agencies by AdWeek, it has provided hundreds of thousands of leads for some of the leading Fortune 1000 education companies, including University of Phoenix, Capella, Career Education Corporation and Kaplan.
“Trends continue to show that the number one source prospective students turn to when researching educational options is the Web. This will only accelerate as the future tech- savvy, education-hungry generations continue through the pipeline,” says Rob Peyree, CEO of WorldClass Strategy. “To join a team that consists of some of our most respected competitors in online marketing produces a combination that is unmatched in the industry in terms of experience, knowledge and proven track record in serving colleges and universities.”
WorldClass Strategy is the fourth acquisition in the education space by Halyard Education Partners in the past two years, including eLearners, Educational Directories, GoalQuest and now WorldClass Strategy. In combination, Halyard Education Partners serves the marketing needs of more than 3,000 higher education institutions nationwide.
“Combining WorldClass Strategy’s online capabilities with those that exist already within Halyard Education Partners creates the leading platform for generating student leads across the entire for-profit and non-profit higher education spectrum,” said Bruce Eatroff, a partner at Halyard Capital. “We are delighted that WorldClass Strategy’s management is joining our team as they share our vision to build the leading online marketing and information company focused exclusively on higher education.”
The transaction was financed by additional equity from Halyard Capital and a new first and second lien bank facility underwritten by BMO Capital Markets. Arbor Advisors, LLC served as financial advisor to WorldClass Strategy on the transaction. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP served as legal advisor to Halyard Education Partners and WorldClass Strategy was represented by Perkins Coie LLP.
About Halyard Education Partners
Halyard Education Partners is an interactive marketing and information services company focused on the higher education industry. Halyard Education Partners has assembled a network of industry leading companies that serve as the premier source of information for prospective students and their families seeking postsecondary educational options. As a result, Halyard Education Partners companies are some of the leading, most respected resources for student acquisition and retention services for educational institutions. Halyard Education Partners’ acquisitions have included eLearners, Educational Directories Unlimited, GoalQuest and WorldClass Strategy, which collectively maintain some of the most visible education web sites including GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, eLearners.com and EarnMydegree.com. For more information on Halyard Education Partners, please visit http://www.HalyardEducationPartners.com.
About Halyard Capital
Halyard Capital is a New York-based private equity fund with over $500 million of capital under management focused on investing in media, communications and business services companies. The Fund specializes in middle-market leveraged buyouts, growth equity and structured equity investments. Additional information regarding Halyard’s strategy, principals and investments can be found at http://www.halyard.com.