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Apollo Education (APOL) Q2 Loss Widens, Outlook Scrapped

Shares of Apollo Education Group, Inc. APOL dropped more than 2% in afterhours trading on Apr 6 as the post-secondary education company announced disappointing second-quarter fiscal 2016 results. Also the company withdrew its 2016 guidance provided during the first quarter 2016 conference call.  

Apollo Education Group signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by a consortium of investors for about $1.1 billion in Feb 2016. These investors include Chicago-based investment company, The Vistria Group, LLC; funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC (APO), one of the leading global alternative investment managers;  and Najafi Companies, an Arizona-based investment firm. If the deal gets all the necessary approvals, the transaction is expected to close in Aug 2016.

Apollo Education’s adjusted loss (excluding special items) of 31 cents per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2016 was wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 10 cents by a massive 210%. The bottom line declined 55.7% from a loss of 7 cents reported in the prior year quarter due to lower revenues.

Net revenue of $465.3 million lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $471 million by 1.2%. Revenues declined 19.1% from the prior-year quarter due to lower enrollments.

Adjusted EBITDA was negative $12.9 million during the quarter, down from $17.9 million in the prior year quarter.

Segment Details

University of Phoenix (UOP) revenues declined 25.2% year over year to $365 million due to a 24% decline in total enrollment to 162,400. New enrollment, or starts, at UOP declined 39.2% year over year to 17,200.

UOP’s enrollments have been sluggish for several quarters now due to regulatory challenges, and changes and competition in the higher education industry. The company adopted a transformation strategy for UOP to turn it into a “smaller, but better performing” university however some of its efforts hurt enrollment in the second quarter. These include reducing the number of associate programs, the number of program starts and frequency of a program offered during an academic year. Though this simplification strategy was expected to reduce operational complexity and expenses, new enrollment was hurt and the company reported lower-than- expected continuing students in the quarter.

Apollo Global reported net revenue of $93.8 million, up 15.7% year over year.  Apollo Global continues to expand in the international market, thereby driving top line growth.

Other Schools reported revenues of $6.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2016, up 5.8% year over year.


Apollo Education Group scrapped the 2016 guidance provided during the first quarter of fiscal 2016 conference call due to the upcoming merger and ongoing transformation of the University of Phoenix. In fact, the company mentioned that revenue, operating income and degreed enrollment are expected to be lower than prior expectations. The company did not provide any further update on its guidance.

Apollo Education Group carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the education industry include American Public Education, Inc. APEI, Lincoln Educational Services Corporation LINC and Capella Education Co. CPLA. While American Public Education and Lincoln Educational Services sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Capella Education carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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