UPDATE 2-Strayer to buy Jack Welch's business college

Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:19pm EST

* Purchase price about $7 million - CFO

* Welch also participating in the deal

* Strayer shares jump 7 pct

By Megha Mandavia and A. Ananthalakshmi

Nov 11 (Reuters) - Strayer University is buying the business management college founded by the legendary former chief executive of General Electric, Jack Welch, to expand its bouquet of MBA programs.

Strayer Education Inc, parent company of the university, would buy the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI) from its current owner, Cleveland-based Chancellor University.

The purchase price is about $7 million, with Welch contributing about 30 percent of that, Strayer CFO Mark Brown told Reuters in an interview.

"We had been exploring on our own the opportunity to offer an executive MBA program when we were contacted by Welch about potentially acquiring JWMI and offering the MBA program through that vehicle," Brown said. Strayer already offers a traditional MBA program.

JWMI's tuition is about $30,060, while Strayer's MBA is priced at $26,715.

JWMI, founded by Welch in 2009 following his retirement from GE, offers online executive MBA degrees and certificate programs for professionals and corporates. It has about 200 students, Brown said.

Welch, known for transforming GE into the largest U.S. conglomerate, is a professor at the college and appears in weekly videos about current business events and involved in the preparation of the curriculum.

Arlington, Virginia-based Strayer will start offering the JWMI programs from its winter term, Brown said. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2011.

Strayer has been struggling with enrollment declines for the last four quarters after tough new U.S. rules on student debt forced it to tighten admission standards.

The for-profit college, which offers working adults programs in accounting, business administration, information technology and criminal justice, had almost 55,000 students at the end of September.

"At roughly 0.4 percent of Strayer's enrollment, JWMI is a relatively small transaction, but a high profile one nonetheless, and a good complement to Strayer's business focus," BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeff Silber wrote in a client note.

Strayer's shares rose 7 percent to $97.26 on Friday on Nasdaq.

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