Laureate Education to sell universities in Milan, Cyprus for $263 million

Laureate Education Inc. will sell its for-profit universities in Italy and Cyprus to Galileo Global Education for $263 million, the Baltimore-based company announced Wednesday.

The sale of the three universities — Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano and Domus Academy in Milan, and European University Cyprus — is expected to close in January, Laureate said.

“I am confident in the legacy of these exemplary institutions and, under the stewardship of Galileo Global Education, I believe that they will be well positioned and supported to continue to deliver strong outcomes and high student satisfaction,” Douglas Becker, Laureate’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Becker is stepping down as CEO at the end of the year.

Laureate has been selling universities recently from its network of 70 institutions in 25 countries, in part to pay down debt. The company posted a loss of $103.5 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared to a profit of $80.9 million in the same quarter of 2016, a gain driven by the sale of its French institutions for $155.2 million.

Per-share results swung from a gain of 66 cents to a loss on $1.02 in the July-to-September period.

Laureate went public earlier this year, raising $490 million that was used partly to pay down some of the debt it took on in a 2007 leveraged buyout.

The sale sent Laureate shares up 22 cents to close at $11.63 each in Wednesday trading.

Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano and Domus Academy offer design and arts programs, while European University Cyprus has a medical school and a dentistry program.

Marc-François Mignot Mahon, CEO of Luxembourg-based Galileo, called them “prestigious brands, campuses rich with history and academic pedigree, renowned throughout the world and fully complementary with our other schools.”

Galileo’s institutions teach applied arts, design, communication and management in France, Italy, Britain, Germany, Mexico, China, India and Senegal. The company has 60,000 enrolled students and is owned by the Providence, R.I.-based equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

“We are excited by the prospects of this transaction,” Mahon said in a statement.

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