Leeds Equity Partners has agreed to take Nobel Learning Communities (NASDAQ: NLCI) private in a $149 million deal. The PE firm intends to pay Nobel Learning stockholders $11.75 in cash per share of common stock, which represents a 36% premium. Holders of about 55% of the company's outstanding shares have already agreed to vote in favor of the transaction. Nobel Learning operates private preschools, elementary schools, middle schools and K-12 online distance learning.
Since the beginning of 2009, 55 PE investors have invested in 73 companies involved in the Education & Training Services industry, according to the PitchBook Platform. Deal activity in the industry slowed from 38 deals in 2009 to 27 in 2010, but the deals during 2010 were typically larger than those in 2009. The median deal size in 2010 was $75 million, up from $30 million in 2009. With 9 deals completed so far this year, 2011 is experiencing a deal pace similar to last year's. During the same time period, PE investors displayed a strong preference for controlling stakes in Education & Training Services companies, completing a large number of buyouts compared to PE growth deals. Of the PE investors recently active in the industry, the most active include The Riverside Company (6 deals), Hart Capital (5), Spire Capital Partners (4) and Sterling Partners (4).