Thoma Bravo to Acquire Education Software Unicorn Frontline Education

San Francisco and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo has announced plans to acquire Frontline Education, an Exton, Penn.-based provider of education software. While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Frontline’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Clifford told EdSurge in an interview that “the company is valued in the unicorn range, well north of a billion dollars.”

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Founded in 1998, Frontline provides a comprehensive administrative and HR software package for K-12 schools and districts. Private equity firm Insight Venture Partners acquired a controlling stake of the company in 2014, overseeing an acquisition spree including the buyout of recruitment tool provider Teachers-Teachers, professional development companies School Improvement Network and Teachscape, and a special educations software firm called The Centris Group. As part of the deal, Insight Venture Partners will retain a minority stake in the company.

Frontline says its software aids over 12,000 education organizations, over 5 million school employees and 1.2 million substitute teachers on a daily basis. Its CEO says revenues have been growing at an impressive 50% annual rate for the past several years.

Moving forward, Clifford indicates Frontline will continue its push into data analytics and “absolutely” seek out other takeout targets.

The company heads off against Vista Equity Partners-owned PowerSchool, who has dished out an approximate $1 billion on eight acquisitions in under two years. Private equity group BV Investment Partners has also doubled down on the high-growth segment, funneling $150 million to Hero K12 this past June.