Berkshire Partners, Advent International and Bain Capital have entered into an agreement to acquire SkillSoft (NASDAQ: SKIL) for $10.80 per share. The price is a 26% premium to SkillSoft's 52-week average stock price and values the company at approximately $1.1 billion. SkillSoft provides on-demand e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to medium-sized businesses. The buyout includes $675 million of debt financing from Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital.
The SkillSoft deal is the first U.S. private equity deal announced in 2010 to break the $1 billion mark. Since the beginning of 2008, there have been 54 PE deals over $1 billion completed or announced, according to the PitchBook Platform. The flow of these mega deals dropped dramatically in 2009 with only 13 completed or announced as a result of the credit crisis. As debt became more available in 2H '09 they began to return, with 10 occurring since July of 2009. The most active lenders behind these recent deals have been Barclays Capital with 6 deals (including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & General Atlantic's LBO of TASC), BofA Merrill Lynch with 4 (including Blackstone Group's acquisition of SeaWorld Parks) and Credit Suisse with 3 (including Blackstone's add-on of Birds Eye Foods).