Permira sets up digital education platform

The firm, which earlier this week scored a 2.3x return on its exit of animal nutrition company Provimi, has made its first ever acquisition of a digital education company.

Permira has struck a deal to acquire digital education provider Renaissance Learning for about $440 million, just a day after the firm agreed to sell animal nutrition platform Provimi to Cargill for about $2.1 billion.

Renaissance will be a platform investment for Permira to grow its exposure to digital education, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The acquisition is the firm’s first of a digital education company, a sub-sector of general technology, which the firm has traditionally invested in, the person said. About 30 percent of all the firm’s investments fall within the technology, media and telecommunications sector, the person said.

Permira views digital education as a new and growing sector that it will closely watch in the coming years, the person said.

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Several other private equity firms have made moves into education-related investments, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which formed a partnership called Weld North with former Kaplan chief executive officer Jonathan Grayer. Weld North acquired e-learning and digital education company Education2020 in July. Providence Equity Partners and Veronis Suhler Stevenson also have made investments in the sector.

The Renaissance deal comes after SVG Capital, the listed fund of funds that commits primarily to Permira, reported earnings increases driven by strong performances of Permira’s funds, especially the firm’s fourth fund. Specifically, Fund IV portfolio companies Galaxy Entertainment, a casino operator, and fashion brand Hugo Boss had strong performances.
go Boss had strong performances.

Earlier this week, Permira sold animal nutrition company Provimi to Cargill for about $1.2 billion, generating a 2.3x return multiple, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.