Laureate Education

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Laureate Education Inc
TypeBenefit corporation
NasdaqLAUR (Class A)
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryHigher education
  • CEO: Eilif Serck-Hanssen
  • CFO: Richard M. Buskirk
FounderDouglas L. Becker
United States
RevenueUS$1.086 billion (2021)
-US$137.5 million (2021)
US$203.7 million (2021)
Number of employees
24,000 (2021)
Footnotes / references

Laureate Education, Inc. is a corporation based in Miami, Florida, United States.[1] The firm owns and operates Laureate International Universities, with campuses in Mexico and Peru.[2] The company is publicly traded on the Nasdaq.[3]

Corporate history[edit]

Beginnings: 1998–2009[edit]

Laureate Education was originally created by Douglas Becker in 1998, as Sylvan International Universities, an operational division of Sylvan Learning Systems that would focus on post-secondary institutions. At the time, Sylvan was primarily focused on services for students in primary and secondary education through company owned and franchise locations.[4]

Sylvan International Universities' first acquisition was Spain's Universidad Europea de Madrid for $51 million in 1999.[4][5] By 2001, the company had expanded to include institutions including Mexico's Universidad del Valle de México (UMV), Chile's Universidad de las Américas, Switzerland's Les Roches International School of Hotel Management,[6] and 41% ownership of the online institution Walden University.[7]

In March 2003, the firm decided to focus exclusively on post-secondary education. It sold the K-12 business units, and the Sylvan name and trademark to Apollo Management,[8] and in May 2004 changed its name to Laureate Education to reflect the new direction.[9] Laureate took full control of Walden in September 2004, after purchasing remaining shares of the university for $109 million. The Baltimore Sun reported in 2004 that "Walden's enrollment grew tenfold from the time Laureate first invested in it four years ago."[7]

In 2007, the firm became private after being acquired by an investor group led by Becker.[10]

Growth: 2010–2017[edit]

Laureate continued to expand and acquire new institutions after becoming privately owned. By 2010, it owned more than 50 institutions, both campus-based and online, in 21 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. According to the firm, it had a total enrollment of about 550,000 students. Former United States President Bill Clinton held a role as honorary chancellor of Laureate from 2010 until early April 2015.[11] Clinton's publicly disclosed tax returns showed he was paid just short of $16.5 million for his work with the firm.[12][13] His position included attending meetings on education issues,[14] campus openings,[15] and commencement ceremonies.[16]

In January 2013, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, made a $150 million equity investment in the firm to expand access to higher education in emerging markets.[17][18] The firm, which had been present in Brazil since 2005, also bought Brazilian for-profit university chain Centro Universitário das Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas for $412 million in anticipation of a growing middle-class in Brazil.[19]

The firm was among investors in Coursera, a provider of massive online open courses, citing the opportunity to license courses through Coursera.[20]

Arizona-based Thunderbird School of Global Management announced a partnership with the firm in March 2013 to set up a joint venture that would provide capital support for Thunderbird to open multiple international instruction sites, create an undergraduate program, and expand its executive education and online programs.[21] The partnership proved controversial. Some trustees and alumni expressed concerns that partnering with for-profit education could negatively affect Thunderbird's reputation, while supporters said working with Laureate would allow Thunderbird, which was struggling financially, to maintain its independence.[22]

In December 2013, Laureate announced the election of three independent directors: Robert B. Zoellick, former World Bank president;[23] Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation;[24] and George Muñoz, principal of the Muñoz Investment Banking Group.[25] In 2015, Laureate named Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, to the post of Presidential Counselor replacing U. S. President Clinton.[26]

Laureate reported revenue of approximately $4 billion in 2014. At the time, it owned 75 schools in 30 countries.[27] Inside Higher Ed reported that total enrollment among the firm's institutions was 800,000, with its largest school, UVM, enrolling 120,000.[28]

In July 2015, Moody's rated Laureate's corporate bonds as high-risk and characterized Laureate as highly leveraged.[29]

Laureate filed for an initial public offering in October 2015. At the time, it disclosed $4.7 billion in debt, and that funds raised from the IPO would be used to reduce its debt load.[30] At the end of 2015, the firm became a certified benefit corporation, the largest at the time.[31] In 2016, the firm sold its two Glion Institute of Higher Education campuses, and four campuses of Les Roches to Eurazeo for $384.9 million.[32]

The firm began trading at $14 per share on the NASDAQ on February 1, 2017. It initially offered 35 million shares, raising $490 million, and closed its first day at $13.25 per share. The IPO stated that the firm had grown to more than 1 million students and 200-plus campuses in 28 countries, and the IPO was in part a response to a global demand for more higher education among a rapidly growing middle class.[33] It was only the third B Corporation to go public, the first two being Etsy and Rally Software.[34]

Decline: 2017–2021[edit]

In September 2017, Becker announced his resignation as Laureate's CEO effective January 2018. He was succeeded by Chief Financial Officer Eilif Serck-Hanssen.[35]

In 2018, the firm began divesting in several markets. It sold schools such as Université Internationale de Casablanca in Morocco, and Kendall College, as well as others in China, Malaysia, Italy and Cyprus. Its focus at the time was on its operations in Spain, Portugal, the U.S., and South and Central America.[36]

Laureate continued its divestiture in 2019, including ending its relationship with Istanbul Bilgi University in Istanbul,[37] and selling University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. In this period, it also closed or sold several schools, including Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Kendall College, Centro Universitário do Norte (UniNorte),[38] Universidad Europea de Madrid, Universidad Europea de Valencia, Universidad Europea de Canarias, Universidade Europeia in Portugal and Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing in Portugal.[39] Laureate also reportedly sold Université Internationale de Casablanca.[40] Laureate also stopped enrolling new students at the University of Liverpool and the University of Roehampton.[41]

The firm's long-term debt at the time was approximately $2.5 billion. It also provided the US Department of Education with letters of credit totaling $137 million for several schools, meant to safeguard federal student aid if the schools closed.[42]

In May 2019, Pública, a Brazilian news outlet, published an investigative report on Laureate Education's practices in the country after 150 teachers were dismissed in December 2018. A dozen teachers accused Laureate of corruption ranging from forged documents to assigning teachers in classes outside of their area of expertise.[43]

In 2020, the firm announced a new strategy to review its operations, including possible sales of schools in Peru, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.[44] It then entered into an agreement to sell its Australian and New Zealand schools to Strategic Education, Inc., and on September 11, said it would sell Walden to Adtalem for $1.48 billion.[45] The Baltimore Business Journal reported that Laureate executives would receive $19 million in bonuses from the sale of Walden.[46] By November, the firm had divested its universities in Australia, New Zealand and Chile,[46]

Laureate also announced that it would sell its Brazilian operations to Ser Educacional for $724 million. However, the firm received a higher offer of $765 million from Anima Holding during a 30-day period while it was allowed to solicit other offers.[47] 11 institutions were included in the sale of the firm's Brazilian operations. The firm also said it had stopped enrolling students in its United Kingdom programs in 2020.[48] The sale to Anima was completed in May 2021.[49]

In 2021, the firm focused on its continuing operations in Mexico and Peru and plans to safely return to in-class education, noting increased demand for higher-education in those markets.[50] As of June 2021, the firm had reported $522 million in revenue for the year.[51] The Walden sale was completed in August 2021, following which the firm announced a $1.29 billion cash distribution that would be made available to eligible stockholders in October. As of September 2021, the firm maintained operations in Peru and Mexico and said it would continue to operate as a public company.[52]

Selected revenue and enrollment figures[edit]

Year Revenue Total enrollment Notes References
2004 $648 million 130,000 [53][54]
2007 $659.3 million 243,000 Revenue reported as of June 30, 2007, prior to the company being taken private. [27][55]
2013 $3.913 billion 800,000 [56][57]
2017 $4.377 billion 1 million [58][59]
2020 $1.02 billion 336,500 [60]
2021 $522 million 349,000 Revenue as of June 30, 2021 [51]

Laureate International Universities[edit]

Laureate International Universities have taught various subjects at both undergraduate and graduate level. Subjects covered by some of its remaining colleges include design,[61] business,[62] culinary and hospitality,[63] and health sciences.[64] As of June 2021, Laureate's continuing operations in Mexico and Peru have a total enrollment of 349,000 students, according to the firm.[51]



Institutions previously in the Laureate Education network[edit]

These schools were previously owned or managed by Laureate Education, or offered courses in partnership with the firm.

List of previous institutions in the Laureate Education Network
Country School Name Year Founded Year Affiliation Began Year Affiliation Ended References
Australia Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School 1991 2008 2020 [46][33]
Australia Torrens University Australia 2014 2014
Australia THINK Education Group 2006 2013
Brazil Universidade Anhembi Morumbi 1970 2005 2021 [33][49]
Brazil Universidade Potiguar 1981 2007
Brazil Faculdade dos Guararapes 2002 2007
Brazil Faculdade Internacional da Paraíba 2005 2007
Brazil Business School São Paulo 1994 2008
Brazil Faculdade de Desenvolvimento do Rio Grande do Sul 2004 2008
Brazil Instituto Brasileiro de Medicina de Reabilitação 1974 2009
Brazil Universidade Salvador 1972 2010
Brazil Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis 1971 2010
Brazil Faculdade dos Guararapes de Recife 1990 2012
Brazil FMU Education Group 1968 2014
Brazil Faculdade Porto-Alegrense 2008 2014
Brazil Centro Universitário do Norte 1994 2008 2019
Chile Universidad de Las Américas 1988 2000 2020 [33][46][66]
Chile Instituto Profesional AIEP 1960 2003
Chile Universidad Andrés Bello 1989 2003
Chile IEDE Escuela de Negocios 1994 2006
Chile Instituto Profesional Escuela Moderna de Música 1940 2008
Chile Universidad Viña del Mar 1988 2009
China Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School—Suzhou 2004 2008 2018 [33][36]
China Hunan International Economics University 1997 2009
China Les Roches Jin Jiang International Hotel Management College 2004 2004 2016
Costa Rica Universidad Americana 1998 2008 2020 [33][66]
Costa Rica Universidad Latina de Costa Rica 1989 2008
Cyprus European University Cyprus 1961 2005 2018 [33][36]
France École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur 1968 2001 2016 [33]
France Institut Français de Gestion 1956 2004
France École Centrale d'Electronique 1919 2004
France European Business School 1967 2013
France Centre d'Etudes Politiques et de la Communication 1899 2013
Germany Business and Information Technology School 2000 2007 2018 [33][67]
Germany BTK University of Applied Science 2006 2011
Germany htk Academy of Design 1987 2011
Germany btk Academy of Design 2000 2011
Honduras Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana 1987 2005 2021 [33][68]
India Pearl Academy 1993 2011 2019 [33]
India University of Petroleum and Energy Studies 2003 2013
India University of Technology and Management 2011 2013
Italy Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano 1980 2009 2018 [33][36]
Jordan Royal Academy of Culinary Arts 2007 2008 2016 [33]
Malaysia INTI Education Group 1986 2008 2020 [33][36][66]
Mexico Universidad del Desarrollo Profesional 2003 2007 2013 [33][69]
Morocco Université Internationale de Casablanca 2010 2010 2018 [33][36]
New Zealand Media Design School 1998 2011 2020 [33][46]
Panama Universidad Interamericana de Panamá 1994 2003 2019 [33]
Portugal Universidade Europeia 1962 2011 2019 [33]
Portugal IADE-U—Instituto de Arte, Design e Empresa—Universitário 1969 2015
Portugal Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing de Porto 1984 2015
Portugal Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing de Lisboa 1987 2015
Portugal Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing de Aveiro 1989 2015
Portugal Ensicorporate 1986 2015
Saudi Arabia Riyadh Polytechnic Institute 2010 2010 2019 [33][66]
Saudi Arabia The Higher Institute for Water and Power Technologies 2011 2011
Saudi Arabia The Higher Institute for Paper and Industrial Technologies 2013 2013
Saudi Arabia Laureate Riyadh Tourism and Hospitality College of Excellence 2013 2013
Saudi Arabia Laureate Jeddah College of Excellence 2013 2013
Saudi Arabia Laureate Mecca Female College of Excellence 2013 2013
Saudi Arabia Laureate Al-Kharj Female College of Excellence 2013 2013
Saudi Arabia Laureate Medina Tourism and Hospitality College of Excellence 2014 2014
Saudi Arabia Laureate Al-Nammas Female College of Excellence 2015 2015
Saudi Arabia Laureate Buraydah Female College of Excellence 2015 2015
Saudi Arabia Laureate Wadi Al-Dawaser Female College of Excellence 2014 2014
Spain Universidad Europea de Madrid 1995 1999 2019 [33]
Spain Universidad Europea de Canarias 2010 2010
Spain Universidad Europea de Valencia 2012 2012
Spain Les Roches International School of Hotel Management Marbella 1995 2002 2016
South Africa Monash South Africa 2001 2013 2019 [33]
Switzerland Les Roches International School of Hotel Management 1954 2000 2016 [33]
Switzerland Glion Institute of Higher Education 1962 2002
Switzerland Les Roches Gruyère University of Applied Sciences 2008 2008
Thailand Stamford International University 1995 2011 2018 [33]
Turkey Istanbul Bilgi University 1996 2006 2019 [33]
United Kingdom Laureate Online Education B.V. (University of Liverpool) 1881 2004 2018 [33][70]
United Kingdom Laureate Online Education B.V. (University of Roehampton) 2004 2012 2017
United States Walden University 1970 2001 2021 [33][68][66][36][71][72]
United States NewSchool of Architecture and Design 1980 2008 2020
United States Kendall College 1934 2008 2018
United States Santa Fe University of Art and Design 1859 2009 2018
United States University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences 1979 2013 2018


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External links[edit]

  • Business data for Laureate Education Inc: