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Sponsor-backed Ascend Learning exploring sale of ClickSafety

Ascend Learning, a professional training and certification business backed by Blackstone [NYSE:BX] and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is exploring a sale of its ClickSafety unit, said two sources familiar with the matter and an industry source.

ClickSafety is a Burlington, Massachusetts-based online safety training company for construction and general industries. An adviser has been hired and indications of interest are due in the middle of this month, the first source said. Both sources said EBITDA is in the low-teen millions of dollars, with the first source adding that revenue is in the mid-USD 30m range.

The first source said ClickSafety is a slow and steady-growing business. He suggested it could be the first of several potential divestitures by Ascend Learning as its two PE owners refocus the portfolio on its fastest-growing units. Ascend was acquired in April 2017 by private equity funds of Blackstone and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board after previously being owned by Providence Equity Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. In 2021, the sponsors filed a confidential S1 but Ascend never ended up going public.

The company’s course offerings span healthcare, fitness and wellness, and safety and security.

Ascend, CPPIB, Blackstone and ClickSafety did not return requests for comment.