BPP ‘put up for sale again with £2.5 billion price tag’

Private equity firm that owns one of the UK’s few private universities seeking to make triple its initial investment in latest deal

July 1, 2024
Source: iStock/Yujie Chen

BPP, one of the UK’s largest professional training providers, has been put up for sale again, with the private equity firm that owns it reportedly seeking bids in excess of £2.5 billion.

The group – which includes BPP University – has been owned by private equity firm TDR Capital since 2021.

This company has appointed bankers to start an auction for BPP, which runs courses in law, accountancy, business and nursing, The Sunday Times reported.

Sources told the paper that the process would start in the autumn, once potential investors had seen how well the company had recruited for the coming academic year.

TDR bought BPP for £700 million three years ago and is understood to been seeking more than triple this amount in the current sale.

The business has acquired several training companies in this time, including Estio, an IT apprenticeship firm, and Firebrand, which offers IT and project management courses.

A deal to buy Canada’s Acsenda School of Management from Australian company EduCo, was being finalised, according to The Sunday Times.

BPP was previously owned by Apollo Education Group – former owner of the University of Phoenix, once the largest online university in the US but one that has seen its fortunes decline in recent years.

Apollo itself was bought by Vistria Group and Apollo Global Management in 2017, with BPP eventually being sold off in the aftermath of the acquisition.

According to the latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, BPP has 12,000 full-time equivalent students on higher education courses, with more than two-thirds of these on postgraduate taught programmes. It is also one of the largest providers of apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.

The university part of the business was granted indefinite degree-awarding powers (DAPs) in 2020 by the Office for Students, a rarity in a sector still dominated by not-for-profit providers.

Any sale would likely be scrutinised by the English regulator, which can call a review to “determine whether the provider still meets the DAPs criteria”.

TDR Capital declined to comment.


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