IN BRIEF: Quartet guides Blackstone, Vista Equity’s edtech purchase

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The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Simpson Thacher and Kirkland guiding longtime clients Blackstone and Vista
  • Ropes & Gray steers Ellucian, with Morgan Lewis advising management

(Reuters) - Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Kirkland & Ellis, Ropes & Gray and Morgan Lewis & Bockius are supporting investment firms The Blackstone Group Inc and Vista Equity Partners Management LLC’s purchase of higher education technology business Ellucian Co LP for an undisclosed amount from private equity investors TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners (LGP) LP.

The investment firms said on Monday that they had agreed to acquire Reston, Virginia-based Ellucian. While many universities and colleges are preparing to have students return to campus for the fall 2021 semester, others that pivoted to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic are looking to improve online forms of instruction.

Ellucian helps its more than 2,700 customers in over 50 countries discover and switch to digital learning technologies.

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Blackstone has paired up with longtime advisor Simpson Thacher for the deal. The firm’s team includes mergers and acquisitions partners Elizabeth Cooper and William Allen. Simpson Thacher is fresh off of advising Blackstone on its roughly $10 billion buy of data center operator QTS Realty Trust Inc last week.

Simpson Thacher previously advised Ellucian and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC on the sale of the education technology company to TPG and LGP in 2015, according to a press release.

Vista has tapped longstanding advisor Kirkland, with a team led by corporate partners Lukas Richards, Sarkis Jebejian, Jonathan Davis and Ari Levi, among others, for guidance.

On the other side of the deal, Ellucian has turned to Ropes & Gray for M&A advice. The firm’s team is headed by private equity partner Jason Freedman.

Ellucian’s management team is being advised by Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

It’s not clear when the deal will close. Blackstone’s financial advisor is RBC Capital Markets LLC; Vista’s is Morgan Stanley & Co LLC; and TPG Capital, LGP and Ellucian’s is UBS Investment Bank.

Read more:Pack of firms direct Blackstone’s buy of data center operator

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Sierra Jackson reports on legal matters in major mergers and acquisitions, including deal work, litigation and regulatory changes.