Middle market private equity firm ClearLight Partners has sold portfolio company US Education for $290 million (€189 million) to vocational school giant Devry.
ClearLight originally purchased the professional school operator in June 2002 for an undisclosed amount, providing the company with additional capital in 2003 for acquisitions of several healthcare-related schools across the Western US.
“It was a good strong return and we’re looking forward to the close,” Michael Kaye, ClearLight founder, told PEO. Kaye declined to release specific return figures.
US Education owns and operates 17 campuses, serving roughly 8,700 students through certificate and degree programs in healthcare careers such as nursing, ultrasound and radiography, veterinary technology and dental hygiene.
Among the campuses run by US Education are Silicon Valley College, Western Career College and Apollo College.
You hear guys in the industry say the least thing they like about private equity is raising capital, and they spend a year doing it. We spend about an hour on a phone call.
ClearLight founder Michael Kaye
Newport Beach, California-based ClearLight made the investment from its second fund, closed on $300 million in April of last year. Kaye said that roughly 25 to 35 percent of the fund has already been invested.
The firm invests solely on behalf of one limited partner, Japanese commercial security company Secom. Kaye once represented Secom as a lawyer and ran its US affiliate, Westec Security, for 15 years.
Asked if ClearLight was considering expanding to managing co-mingled funds, Kaye said it was something the firm had discussed but would wait to decide on until after it has fully invested its second fund.
“You hear guys in the industry say the least thing they like about private equity is raising capital, and they spend a year doing it,” he said. “And we spend about an hour on a phone call.”