Why Career Education Stock Skyrocketed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Career Education (NASDAQ: CECO  ) were flying high today, up as much as 71% after the company agreed to sell its European education properties.

So what: The for-profit educator said it would unload its entire International schools segment, which includes the Paris-based INSEEC Group and the International University of Monaco to the private equity firm Apax Partners. The sale price is $305 million, and Career Education expects $276.5 million when the transaction closes. CEO Scott Steffey said, "Redeploying capital from Europe to the United States is the right move for Career Education. It will help us best serve the vast majority of students, and return the best value for investors."

Now what: Considering that its European division had contributed just 9% of sales in 2012, the move looks like a savvy one for Career Education as that chunk of its business is being valued at more than 10 times the stock as a whole, though Steffey noted that it had shown steady enrollment growth over the past several years. Still, Career Education's proceeds from the sale were greater than its market cap based on yesterday's closing price, making the deal seem like a no-brainer. The company will report earnings Nov. 6. Analysts are expecting a loss of $0.53 a share on $255.5 billion in revenues. Given the expected losses over the next several quarters, today's news might be a good time to sell.

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