Strayer Education, Capella to merge in $1.9 billion deal

(Reuters) - Strayer Education Inc STRA.O will merge with smaller peer Capella Education Co CPLA.O in a $1.9 billion all-stock deal that will offer doctoral, master's and bachelor's programs, mainly for working adults across the United States.

Strayer shareholders will own about 52 percent of the combined company, and Capella shareholders will own about 48 percent, the companies said on Monday.

The combined for-profit education company will serve about 80,000 students.

For-profit colleges such as Herndon, Virginia-based Strayer have struggled to grow student enrollments in recent years after tough U.S. rules on student debt forced them to tighten admission standards.

Strayer, which had a market value of about $1.02 billion as of Friday, offers working adults programs in accounting, business administration, information technology and criminal justice. It had 45,509 students enrolled in its programs for the 2016 fall term.

Minneapolis-based Capella Education had a market capitalization of about $764.5 million as of Friday. It provides doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s programs, primarily for working adults.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Sai Sachin Ravikumar