Corporate tech-training company Global Knowledge will acquire the operations of Canada's leading corporate training firm, Nexient Learning, a business whose aggressive expansion left it with too much debt to withstand the recession.
The two companies announced today that Cary-based Global Knowledge has agreed to buy Nexient's assets for an undisclosed sum. Read Tuesday's exclusive post on the deal here.
Nexient recently filed for the Canadian equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the sale requires court approval. The deal is expected to be finalized "within the next two weeks, if not sooner," said Douglas Lawson, chief financial officer at Nexient.
Nexient has about 220 employees and generated $55.2 million in revenue last year by providing information technology and business courses to more than 100,000 trainees at 12 training sites across Canada.
"We view the Canadian training marketplace as having significant growth potential and the chance to acquire Nexient's operations presented a rare opportunity to expand in this important market," Global Knowledge CEO Brian Branson said in a prepared statement.
Branson, who is meeting with Nexient employees in Canada today, could not be reached immediately for additional comment.
The Canadian business will continue to operate as Nexient "for an undetermined period," according to the announcement.
Global Knowledge, which is owned by New York investment firm Welsh, Carson and Stowe, generated more than $275 million in revenue last year.
The company provides information technology and business training at its own centers, on customers' sites and over the Internet. It operates in 16 countries and partners with leading technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft and VMware to provide certified training in their products.
Global Knowledge has just under 1,200 employees, including about 300 in Cary, after laying off about 70 workers in the spring. Branson said at the time that the company's cost-cutting efforts would position it to thrive -- and grab market share from weaker competitors -- when the economy turned around.
Lawson referred questions about future staffing levels at Nexient, and what's in store for the company's top management, to Global Knowledge.
"They are the buyer," he said. "They decide."
Global Knowledge emerged as the winner of a bidding process run by a court-appointed monitor, Lawson said.
Nexient is the product of a series of acquisitions that led to a lot of restructuring costs and a pile of debt, more than $36 million when it filed for protection from creditors, Lawson said.
"By the time the recession came along, we did not have the financial strength to weather it through," he said.
Still, Lawson expects the business to thrive under Global Knowledge's wing.
"Nexient, despite all our challenges, remains Canada's leader in corporate training," he said. "We have continued to do as well or better than any training company, despite our financial condition. And so I would say that, under Global Knowledge, we would be excited about our prospects."