SOURCE: STAR TRIBUNE
We shared some of our observations about the uniqueness of this moment with Lee Schafer, a Business Columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Author Lee Schafer joined the Star Tribune as a columnist in 2012 after 15 years in business, including leading his own consulting practice and serving on corporate boards of directors. He’s twice been named the best in business columnist by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, most recently for his work in 2017.
They shared a convincing story of continued growth in their merger and acquisition practice serving education clients, one of four areas of in-depth expertise at the firm. And I had thought going into the conversation that the bloom had not only come off the rose in for-profit education, but the rosebushes died.
My own thinking had been colored by the bad news still dribbling out, like in the spring when an agreement was reached for more than 900 former students of Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business to get their student debt wiped out. It was a similar story last month for former students of ITT Tech.
Most of us never got near such for-profit schools, of course. The local public school is a government operation and the “private school” nearby is almost certainly a nonprofit. That’s true from kindergarten all the way through university graduate programs.
As the Cherry Tree bankers cheerfully described, the booming education market includes all the providers of software, curriculum, student assessment tools, equipment and other things those public and nonprofit schools need. And their need only seems to grow.
Cherry Tree is coming off its best year ever. It’s looking to hire people who are ready to step in right away and run their own deals or projects, in education or another practice area.
Minnetonka-based Cherry Tree works on transactions between $10 million and $200 million in value. Unlike a lot of other firms that almost exclusively represent sellers of companies, Cherry Tree also will happily help clients buy other businesses or technologies.
Cherry Tree has been in education longer than it’s been a merger and acquisition advisory firm. It got its start in 1980 in venture capital. In 1989 Cherry Tree helped create and finance a new company formed out of the education assets of Control Data, later called Plato Learning and, for nearly a decade now, Edmentum.
Former Plato Learning business development manager Chad Johnson, with a couple of stops in between, came to Cherry Tree in 2007 to further develop its practice in education. He primarily works with companies that supply K-12 education.
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This announcement includes forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical or current facts, including statements about beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on current expectations, and actual results may differ materially. The forward-looking statements in this announcement are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, the possibility of continuing operating losses, the ability to adapt to rapid technological change, cost and difficulties we may face in integrating the businesses of XATA and GeoLogic Solutions, dependence on positioning systems and communication networks owned and controlled by others, the receipt and fulfillment of new orders for current products, the timely introduction and market acceptance of new products, the ability to fund future research and development activities, the ability to establish and maintain strategic partner relationships, and the other factors discussed under “Risk Factors” in Part IA, Item 1 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2008 (as updated in our subsequent reports filed with the SEC). These reports are available under the “Investors” section of our Web site at www.xata.com and through the SEC Web site at www.sec.gov. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events.