Professional Development
Education / Investing

Laureate Education is inching closer to its IPO

A pair of SEC updates from the for-profit higher-ed company points to a new push toward going public.

Laureate world headquarters. (Photo via Glassdoor)
Correction: Laureate Education is $4.2 billion in debt. Due to a rounding error, an earlier version of this story listed that figure at $4.3 billion. (1/19/17, 3:46 p.m.)

More than a year after its first filing, Laureate Education appears set to move forward with its initial public offering (IPO).
The Harbor East-based for-profit higher-education company indicated in SEC filings in recent weeks that it is preparing to go public.
A December update to its SEC filing says the company will trade on the Nasdaq using the symbol LAUR. A second filing issued this week said it would offer 29 million shares priced between $17 and $20 per share. That would put the company’s raise at around $500 million.
Laureate, which owns for-profit universities in 25 countries, was a public company from 1993-2007. The announcement said this IPO is being offered in part to pay down its $4.2 billion in debt.
The company has also been raising money through private means. Late last month, Laureate reported plans to raise $383 million from investors in a private stock offering. And it raised $398 million by selling some of its European universities last year.
In his initial announcement, CEO Douglas Becker also noted that an IPO brings “the highest level of transparency,” and the process has also exposed challenges the company faces. Bill Clinton’s position as honorary chancellor with the company got attention during the 2016 election. The SEC filing states its former chief accounting officer filed a whistleblower complaint alleging it violated SEC rules. (The company denies the charges.) A Minnesota student filed a lawsuit alleging that a doctoral program took more time to complete than necessary. The company is also investigating potential corruption in connection with one of its universities in Turkey.
A date for the IPO was not released.

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