Boston, MA - Capstone Partners LLC, a leading investment banking firm, has successfully advised Ex'pression College on its sale to Navitas Limited. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Ex'pression College is a California-based creative media college founded in 1998 and operating from two campuses in Emeryville and San Jose, California. The College grants Bachelor degrees in six programs: Animation & Visual Effects, Digital Filmmaking, Game Art & Design, Graphic Design & Motion, Interactive Audio and Sound Arts. Ex'pression utilizes a professional, accelerated program, where students can earn their degree in fewer than three years. The College serves approximately 550 full-time students and has access to title IV Federal Student Aid (FASFA) funding. Dan Levinson, CEO of Ex'pression College, believes that this new partnership represents a great opportunity to introduce Ex'pression's creative media programs to a national audience of potential students. "I look forward to a positive synthesis of our two colleges, which share a common strategic vision, concern for the students, and a passion for creativity," said Levinson.
Ex'pression College will become part of the SAE Institute, Navitas' creative media education division. SAE operates 53 creative colleges in 27 countries around the world, including seven major cities in the United States. Ex'pression's Bachelor degree programs align with SAE's exisitng gloabl curriculum portfolio, which includes animation, game development, audio engineering and digital filmmaking. Scott McKinley, President of SAE Institute USA, commented, "The Ex'pression acquisition will support SAE's planned growth in the key United States market, doubling the number of colleges in the state of California to four and allowing SAE to utilize exisiting accredidation to offer a wider array of programs in that state."
SAE's parent company, Navitas, is an Australian global education leader, providing pre-university and university programs, English language courses, migrant education and settlement services, creative media education, student recruitment, professional development, and corporate training services to more than 80,000 students across a network of 100 colleges and campuses in 27 countries. Rod Jones, Group CEO of Navitas, remarked, "We are excited to be able to offer both SAE and Ex'pression College students more opportunities through this partnership, which will leverage the best of both organizations. Bringing SAE and Ex'pression together will provide the combined organization with a significantly expanded footprint in the key California market, and will help facilitate the ongoing accreditation process to increase the number of SAE courses and qualifications in that state as well as across the United States."
Capstone Partners has a long history of closing transactions within the education space. The firm has the most active education and training M&A practice in the middle market, having closed over 20 transactions in the industry in the past few years and currently representing another five companies in the sector, with these transactions expected to close in 2014. Commenting on Capstone's latest transaction in the post-secondary education market, Jacob Voorhees, Managing Director of Capstone, added, "We are pleased to have represented Ex'pression College in this transaction. Both parties will benefit greatly from this acquisition, with SAE adding an exceptional institution with an outstanding reputation, and Ex'pression gaining a global partner with resources that will embellish their students' experience. The transaction is reflective of the uptick in M&A activity we are experiencing in the post-secondary education space. The market stabilized in 2013 and deal momentum has been gaining since late last year, supported by the industry's growth prospects and opportunities."