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Apollo Will Make a Windfall in $1 Billion For-Profit College Bet

May 20, 2021, 9:00 AM

Apollo Global Management Inc. is known for its no-holds-barred dealmaking. But not long ago, the private equity firm pitched itself to pension funds and other wealthy institutions as an emerging force in “impact” investing, the movement to make money while also turning the world into a better place. Exhibit A: higher education.

In 2017, Apollo led a $1 billion takeover of the company that owns the University of Phoenix. Before the acquisition, the for-profit college chain “came under fire for aggressive marketing practices and lower-quality degree programs,” Apollo said in a confidential October presentation. But the firm said it ...