Shares of the Baltimore for-profit-education firm Laureate Education at last check were 15% higher at $13.94 after the deal was unveiled. The stock has bounced off its 52-week low of $7.30, set in mid-March.
Adtalem shares were off 2.9% at $30.41.
Walden University, Laureate's online school in Minneapolis, will remain part of the Laureate International Universities network until the deal closes, likely at the end of 2021, Laureate said.
Adtalem is the Chicago workforce solutions provider. Among other things it operates Ross University School of Medicine in Barbados and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The boards of Laureate, Adtalem Global Education and Walden University unanimously approved the transaction.
The transaction is subject to conditions including regulatory clearance by the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
Goldman Sachs is financial adviser to Laureate. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath and Jones Day are Laureate's legal advisers.
Morgan Stanley is financial adviser and Covington & Burling is legal counsel to Adtalem.
In an emailed statement Laureate President and Chief Executive Eilif Serck-Hanssen said Walden for 50 years has enabled "affordable access to quality graduate education." At the end of 2018 Walden University had 53,000 enrolled students from 150 countries, the website says.
Besides Walden, Laureate operates 11 schools in Brazil, five in Chile, two each in Honduras and Mexico, three in Peru, two in Australia, and one each in Malaysia, New Zealand and the U.K., its website says.