The owner of the largest profit-making university in the US has bought BPP Holdings, the UK’s largest private higher education provider.
Apollo Global, a subsidiary of Apollo Group, the American for-profit higher education company that owns the University of Phoenix, has formally acquired BPP for £368 million.
The move is expected to herald the creation of a wave of new private colleges and universities in the UK, as Apollo has confirmed that it intends to use the acquisition to expand into Europe.
The announcement came as David Willetts, the Shadow Universities Minister, made it clear that a Conservative Government would encourage increased competition from private players in the UK higher education sector.
He told The Observer newspaper that universities may find themselves competing for students not only with other public institutions, but also with a new generation of profit-making education companies both domestically and internationally.
“There are American university chains that are looking to come to Britain and [there is] talk of mergers between British and American universities. India is looking at links. I think it’s ripe for these kinds of supply-side reforms,” Mr Willetts said.