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Douglas Becker, CEO of Laureate Education, shown in 2007 when he took the company private. He's pictured in his office in Habror East.
Douglas Becker, CEO of Laureate Education, shown in 2007 when he took the company private. He's pictured in his office in Habror East. (ALGERINA PERNA / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore-based Laureate Education announced Friday that it wants to sell stock to the public for a second time, perhaps raising as much as $1 billion.

Laureate was a public company before investors took it private in a $3.8 billion deal in 2007.

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The company said Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it wants to raise at least $100 million in an initial public offering, though that number is likely to change. A Bloomberg News report in April said Laureate was interviewing banks for a $1 billion offering in the U.S. that would have valued the company at about $5 billion.

A for-profit educational provider that owns universities across the globe, the company has not yet determined the number of shares it will offer or at what price, and has not yet determined which stock exchange it would be listed under.

Laureate serves more than 1 million students at 88 institutions in 28 countries. It was founded in 1989 as Sylvan Learning Systems, a provider of supplemental and remedial education services, and first went public in 1993.

Sylvan Learning acquired its first college, Universidad Europea de Madrid, in 1999, spun off its tutoring business in 2003 and changed its name to Laureate Education in 2004 as its focus shifted.

The company was bought out in 2007 for $3.8 billion by a consortium of investment funds and other investors led by its chairman and CEO, Douglas L. Becker. Investors included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Citigroup Private Equity.

At the time, Becker said the deal was necessary so the company could aggressively expand in Asian markets, such as China, South Korea and India. He relocated to Hong Kong to lead those efforts.

"We went private with the intention of accomplishing some very specific objectives and, having achieved these goals, we believe it is time for us to re-establish ourselves as a publicly traded company," Becker wrote in a letter to potential investors. "Being public brings the highest level of transparency, and will enable us to more easily raise capital to support our mission which, at its core, is about expanding access to higher education through greater scale."

The company would use the infusion of capital to grow, Becker wrote.

"We want to best ensure that we always have capital to grow and bring the benefits of our education programs to more students," he said.

Anastasia Pronin, a spokeswoman, said the company would not be offering further comment while the process was underway.

The company also filed on Friday to convert from a traditional corporation to what is known as a public benefit corporation domiciled in Delaware, though it will keep its Harbor East headquarters. The change means the company must balance the financial interests of its stockholders with the benefits to those served by its educational offerings.

Former President Bill Clinton served as the company's honorary chancellor since 2010, being paid $16.5 million, according to the Bloomberg report. Clinton left the position earlier this year after his wife, Hillary, officially launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The company has lost money every year since 2010, according to its SEC filing, losing $158.3 million last year on $4.4 billion in revenue. Through the first six months of this year, it lost $171 million on nearly $2.2 billion in revenue.

The losses can be attributed in part to the nearly $4.7 billion in debt the company carries related to its buyout and acquisitions. Last year it made almost $386 million in interest payments.

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