Cherry Tree & Associates | November 2018 | Volume XIII, Issue 5
Platinum Equity Announces $1.3 Billion Acquisition of Jostens 

Platinum Equity announced it will acquire Jostens, the Minnesota based provider of yearbooks, publications and consumer goods serving the K-12 educations, college and professional sports segments, from Newell Brands. The transaction is valued at $1.3 billion (1.7x LTM Revenue) and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019
Insight Venture Partners Announces $110 Million Acquisition of Interfolio

Interfolio, the provider of software helping education faculty with workflow, will be acquired by Insight Venture Partners for $110 Million. Interfolio claims to be used by over 300 colleges and universities.
Vector Solutions Acquired by Golden Gate Capital

Vector Solutions, a provider of e-learning and SaaS performance support solutions, has been acquired by Golden Gate Capital. Vector Solutions reportedly offers over 8,000 courses and reaches 7 million professionals. Vector Solutions had previously been owned by Providence Equity Partners.
Google Acquires Workbench

Workbench, the Baltimore based ed-tech company, has been acquired by Google. Workbench which had raised $1.7 million in 2017, is already integrated with Google Classroom.

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Learning Technologies Group Announces Acquisition of Watershed Learning Analytics

Learning Technologies Group, the talent management and learning technologies software provider, has announced the acquisition of the remaining 73% of Watershed Systems. Learning Technologies Group originally invested in Watershed Learning Analytics, a corporate learning analytics company, in 2016.
Hondros Education Group Acquires Hogan School of Real Estate

Arizona School of Real Estate & Business, a division of Hondros Education Group, acquired Hogan School of Real Estate, a provider of education in the real estate, mortgage and appraisal subjects. This is the third acquisition Hondros Education Group in the state of Arizona.
China Based VIP Peilan Raises $150 Million 

The China based online music education platform, VIP Peilian, raised $150 million in series C funding led by Tiger Global Management. Tencent Holdings, Orchid Asia, GSR Ventures and Bluerun Ventures also participated. VIP Peilan reports expecting revenues over $70 million for 2018.
PlayerLync Raises $12.5 Million

PlayerLync, a mobile content platform for learning and performance management, raised $12.5 million in growth financing led by Volition Capital with participation from Anschutz Venture Group (AVG).
Catapult Learning Acquires Capital Education Group

Capital Education Group, a provider of behavior health services and private school programs for children with autism, has been acquired by Catapult Learning. Catapult Learning, the provider of special education and instructional intervention solutions, reports partnering with more than 500 school districts nationwide.
Cornerstone OnDemand Announces $24 Million Acquisition of Grovo

Grovo, the provider of micro-learning courses across a range of topics, has been acquired by Cornerstone on Demand for $24 million. Grovo claims to have produces over 2,500 micro-learning courses and serves 300 clients. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Saba Software Acquires Lumesse

Saba Software, the global provider of talent development solutions, announced it has closed the acquisition of Lumesse, a provider of talent acquisition and management technology serving the European market. Saba Software is a portfolio of Vector Capital.
Lerner Publishing Acquires Zest Books

Zest Books, publisher of young adult nonfiction books, has been acquired by Lerner Publishing. Zest Books will reportedly add 60 backlist titles to Lerner Publishing Group and plans to launch 10 titles in 2019.
Millpond Equity Partners Acquires TouchMath

Innovative Learning Concepts, a provider of supplemental curriculum teaching foundational math concepts operating under the name TouchMath, has been acquired by Millpond Equity Partners.

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Wellspring International Acquires Quad Learning

Wellspring International Education, the global recruiter bringing international students to the U.S., has acquired Quad Learning. Quad Learning partners with colleges and universities to provide international enrollment services.
Handshake Raises $40 Million

Handshake, a career networking platform for college students, raised $40 million in series C funding. EQY Ventures led the round while the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Omidyar Network and Reach Capital participated.
Imbellus Raises $23 Million 

Imbellus, a developer of simulation-based assessment technology, raised $14.5 million in series A funding. Owl Venture led the round while Upfront Ventures, Thrive Capital and Rethink Education participated.
Photomath Raises $6 Million

Mobile math app, Photomath, raised $6 million in series A funding. Goodwater Capital led the round while Learn Capital participated.
For-profit education comprises more than 5% of the roughly $1.3 trillion that is spent on education in the U.S. annually. Cherry Tree created the Education For-Profit 50 Index representing a group of publicly traded for-profit education companies. 
The For-Profit Education 50 Index consists of companies in the Pre-K-12, Postsecondary Education, Training and Development, and Education Products and Services segments for-profit education industry.
* EV= Enterprise Value
Obviously, the best place to be during the holidays is home, but one of our partners, Chad Johnson, finds that a great place to visit is New York City. This week, amongst the flurry of activity related to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting (which they do call a Christmas Tree), and the various amazing department store Holiday Window Displays (which they don’t call Christmas Window Displays), SIIA’s education division held its annual Education Business Forum. 

As always, there were great conversations, informative discussions, a powerful group of industry executives and thought leaders, and plenty of business opportunities to pursue. Word has it that attendance was up 50% over last year. 

At the conference this year, Chad led a panel discussion titled, Determining Your Growth Capital Needs. The esteemed panelists included Phil Alphonse of the private equity firm The Vistria Group, and Mark McCusker, the CEO of VC-backed company TextHelp. The group, joined by lively Q&A from the audience, discussed what VC and Private Equity investors look for, how to determine how much capital to seek, pitfalls to avoid, and how to select the right partner for your business. If you’re thinking that sounds like a very fascinating conversation, you’re right! If you’re thinking you’d like to discuss capital needs or potential exit strategies, then please reach out to us! And regardless of how you celebrate with your family, we wish you and yours a Happy Holidays. 

For a confidential conversation about your company's strategic alternatives for exiting, merging, acquiring, or obtaining venture financing, and how trends in education affect your prospects, please contact us at 952-893-9012

Prepared by:
Chad Johnson, Managing Director and Partner | 952.253.6010

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis. Our firm specializes in serving middle market companies and their owners, whether private, public, or divisions of larger corporations.
Important Disclosures

The information included in this publication has been obtained from public sources, and is not based upon private or confidential Cherry Tree information. Cherry Tree gathers its data from sources it considers reliable. However, it does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided within this publication. Any opinions presented reflect the current judgment of the authors and are subject to change. Cherry Tree makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy of this information or any opinions expressed by the authors. Officers, directors, partners of Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree proprietary investment funds may have positions in the securities of the companies discussed, and certain affiliates of Cherry Tree may recommend to specific clients the purchase and sale of securities discussed in the publication. This publication does not constitute a recommendation with respect to the securities of any company discussed herein, and it should not be construed as such. Cherry Tree or its affiliates may from time to time provide investment banking or related services to these companies. Like all Cherry Tree employees, the authors of this publication receive compensation that is affected by overall firm profitability. We undertake no obligation to update any information in this publication.  

The Education For-Profit (EFP) 50 Index is a hypothetical index, and does not reflect an actual investment portfolio. Comparisons between the EFP 50 Index and the S&P 500 are for illustrative purposes only. Correlations in performance information for the EFP 50 Index and the S&P 500 should not be relied upon as indicative of risks involved in owning or holding a portfolio of securities similar to the EFP 50 Index. Past performance should not be relied upon as indicative of future performance.