Graphite Capital, the UK mid-market private equity house, has acquired a significant minority stake in Higher Ed International, an online programme manager (OPM).

Higher Ed International develops online degree programmes for universities in the UK, Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.

The company was founded by Randy Best and Justyna Dymerska, who spent a decade with Academic Partnerships, a US-based OPM, which they divested in 2019.

In a press release, Graphite Capital noted that the global online higher education market is forecast to more than double from $36 billion in 2019 to $74 billion in 2025, with the global OPM market forecast to grow from $3.9 billion in 2020 to $9.9 billion in 2025.

Graphite Capital senior partner Mark Hall said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Justyna, Randy and the first-class team at HEI, supporting their global ambitions. Their extensive track record and customer offering are extremely attractive elements in this high-growth market.”

Graphite Capital managing partner Andy Gray said: “HEI is our sixth investment from our ninth fund. It fits perfectly with our strategy of backing best-in-class management teams in sectors with significant growth opportunities. We look forward to working together to scale up its university partnerships globally.”

Graphite Capital also owns stakes in Empowering Learning, a supply teacher agency, and Explore Learning, a UK tutoring network.

Date published: 25 March 2021

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