The Riverside Company has completed its sale of ATI Career Training Centers to the British private equity firm BC Partners in a deal valued at approximately $500 million. Under Riverside's ownership, ATI expanded from 8 campuses to 23, added an online division and grew its student body from 2,300 to 15,500. It also sustained annual growth of over 30% for both revenues and EBITDA. ATI was a Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund 2003 investment.
Since the beginning of 2007, private equity firms have exited 22 investments in the education industry, according to the PitchBook platform. However, there are currently over 100 U.S. education companies that have been held by PE firms for at least three years. This glut of portfolio investments in education seriously increases the likelihood that we will see a wave of exits in 2010 as investors look to capitalize upon the counter-cyclical nature of education company valuations. What form these exits take will be interesting to follow, as there have been significant changes since 2007 where there was only one successful IPO compared to three in 2009 (no small feat). Similarly, secondary sales accounted for almost half of the deal flow in 2007, but there was only one in 2008 and none in 2009.