Laureate Education ( LAUR) soared 14% Monday after agreeing to a management-led private equity buyout at $60.50 a share, or $3.1 billion.The Baltimore-based online education company said the investor group is led by CEO Douglas L. Becker and a consortium including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Citigroup Private Equity, SAC Capital and others. A special committee of independent directors recommended the transaction to Laureate's board, saying it was maximizing shareholder value by selling Laureate now at a significant and attractive valuation multiple. Laureate said Becker first approached Laureate's board with a conditional proposal in September 2006. The special committee authorized Becker to begin discussions with other potential financial partners to secure a higher offer. Subsequently, Becker presented three other offers to the board before the special committee recommended, and the board accepted, the current proposal. The agreement includes a "go shop" provision, allowing the special committee to solicit, receive and evaluate superior proposals over the next 45 days with cooperation from Becker and Laureate management. In accordance with the agreement, the special committee, with the assistance of its independent advisors, intends to actively solicit superior proposals during this period. The equity investment for the transaction will be contributed by the investors, including Becker, and debt financing will be provided by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch & Co. served as financial advisors to the Special Committee of Laureate's Board and provided fairness opinions to the Special Committee.
Shares rose $7.59 to $62.