Could investors have seen it coming? Maybe. Back in February the New York Times wrote about an ominous sign of trouble at the company, which I also blogged about: insiders were selling shares in the company like there was no tomorrow, and stock buybacks had ground to a halt.
I'm not suggesting that there was any impropriety here. Au contraire, we should at least commend them for stopping the buybacks, rather than using shareholder capital to inflate the price while insiders sold. But maybe there was something more sinister. Apollo doesn't exactly have the best corporate governance reputation on the planet, having recently been found liable in a $277 million class-action lawsuit.
Given the corporate governance concerns and insiders' lack of faith in the company, I would be worried about buying here. It's still relatively expensive on valuation metrics and difficulties in the student loan industry could make it tough for students to attend its colleges, which include the University of Phoenix and Western International University.