Career Education sells business for more than its own market cap

Reuters

* Apax Partners to buy business for $305 mln

* Sale includes INSEEC Group, International University ofMonaco

* Career Education shares rise more than 50 pct after-hours

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Career Education Corp said itwill sell its European education business to private equity firmApax Partners for about $305 million, sending its shares up morethan 50 percent in extended trading on Thursday.

The deal - valued at more than Career Education's marketcapitalization - includes its entire international schoolsbusiness, comprising the Paris-based INSEEC Group and theInternational University of Monaco.

The company said it plans to use the proceeds from the dealto concentrate on growing its business in the United States.

"It will help us best serve the vast majority of ourstudents, who are U.S.-based," Chief Executive Scott Steffeysaid in a statement.

As well as battling losses and falling enrollment, the $25billion U.S. for-profit education industry has been stung bygovernment investigations into high student-debt loads and lowgraduation rates.

Career Education agreed in August to pay $10.25 million tosettle a New York state probe into accusations that it hadinflated job placement rates to attract students.

However, University of Phoenix owner Apollo Group Inc said this week that the rate at which studentenrollments were falling had slowed in the quarter ended Sept.30.

Career Education will receive about $276.5 million when thedeal closes, taking into account various adjustments, thecompany said on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC acted as Career Education`sfinancial adviser for the deal.

The company's shares, which have gained about 14 percent inthe past year, were trading at $5.90 at 06.19 p.m. ET, afterclosing at $3.80 on the Nasdaq.

At $3.80, the company had a market value of about $255million.

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