Laureate Education on Friday announced plans to once again become a publicly traded company. Laureate is the largest U.S.-based for-profit college chain, with over one million students at 88 institutions in 28 countries. The privately held company was publicly traded before 2007, when a group of investors led by its CEO, Douglas L. Becker, bought Laureate in a deal valued at $3.8 billion.
The company also announced Friday that it has become a public benefit corporation. That switch means the company remains for-profit but legally is allowed to focus more on activities that aren’t related to boosting its profit margin. The process requires companies to alter their governance structures. Another for-profit chain, Rasmussen College, made the same change last year.
Becker explained the decision in a written statement:
“Most of our operations are outside of the United States, where there are many barriers that inhibit participation in higher education. We committed ourselves to overcoming these barriers in order to expand access. For a long time, we didn't have an easy way to explain the idea of a for-profit company with such a deep commitment to benefiting society. In 2010, we took notice when the first state in the U.S. passed legislation creating the concept of a public benefit corporation, a new type of for-profit corporation with an expressed commitment to creating a material, positive impact on society. Our public benefit is firmly rooted in our belief that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit.”