has recapitalized with

Capstone Partners Advises Penn Foster Education Group on its Recapitalization by The Vistria Group

January 2015

Boston, MA – Capstone Partners LLC, a leading investment banking firm, is pleased to announce that it has successfully advised Penn Foster on its recapitalization by The Vistria Group.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1890, Penn Foster has been a leader in career-focused distance and hybrid learning for more than 100 years and now offers comprehensive high school, career school and college programs. Through direct student enrollments as well as through partnership programs offered with schools and businesses, more than 13 million people have taken Penn Foster-enabled courses to further their education and better position them for life success. Today, Penn Foster graduates 25,000 students yearly and enrolls more than 100,000 new students each year in programs designed to address the gap in middle skilled careers. Penn Foster combines affordable career-ready education with a flexible delivery model that makes content available and allows students to connect with their peers and instructors on an “anytime and anywhere” basis.

"We are an organization that solves an acute challenge for millions of Americans by providing low cost, self-paced education direct to consumers and powered by an extensive campus based partner network. This funding is a validation of our progress and will help us achieve important social outcomes,” said Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, adding, "Expanding access to workforce training and education is critical for every individual and for our nation’s economic future. We have an extraordinary opportunity for growth and industry leadership that addresses 21st century workforce requirements, and we look forward to fulfilling our mission of helping students achieve their education goals and embark on successful careers.”

Penn Foster was recapitalized by The Vistria Group, a middle market private equity firm based in Chicago.  The principals of The Vistria Group focus on investing in companies in the fields of education, health care and financial services. 

Capstone Partners served as the exclusive M&A advisor to Penn Foster on the transaction.  Capstone has a long history of success serving the needs of the education market.  Commenting on the transaction, Jacob Voorhees, Managing Director of Capstone noted, “We are pleased to have assisted Penn Foster with this important milestone.  The company represents one of the leading brands in the rapidly-growing career education market that specifically addresses the glaring middle skills gap in the US economy today, and it is well-positioned for future growth and success.  The transaction is one more indication of the increase in M&A activity we are experiencing in the post-secondary education space. Market momentum has been accelerating since late last year, and we expect continued strong activity in 2015.”

The Vistria Group (“Vistria”) is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on investing in middle market companies in the education, healthcare and financial services sectors.  Vistria’s team of experienced partners have significant investing and operating expertise as well as a proven track record of working with management to grow innovative market leading companies.  To contact The Vistria Group, please direct inquiries to Kip Kirkpatrick at (312) 626-1109 or kkirkpatrick@vistria.com. 

 

Awards & Accolades

2015
Equity Financing Deal of The Year
2015
USA Recapitalization of The Year

Lead Professional

Jacob Voorhees

Co-Head of Investment Banking
“Capstone was an invaluable partner in the sale of Penn Foster.  They were unrelenting in their commitment to securing a deal and remained balanced despite dissenting shareholder goals.  They bridged the transaction when dysfunctional buyer/seller/management dynamics emerged and deftly became psychologists, mediators and voices of reason all in one.  Their temperament and expertise was a very rare combination.  We look forward to a long-term relationship.  Thank you for everything!”
Frank Britt
CEO
Penn Foster