College of Law sale enters crucial stage

The potential takeover of a private higher education college with degree-awarding powers has entered a crucial stage, with education giant Pearson reportedly the front-runner to secure the deal.

February 6, 2012

According to EducationInvestor magazine, the College of Law has entered “exclusive negotiations” with a preferred bidder for the not-for-profit charity, with Pearson, the large for-profit owner of examination board Edexcel, believed to be the most likely candidate.

A number of companies have been linked with the plan to buy the college, including several private equity firms and Laureate, a corporation already running universities around the world.

However, Pearson – which recently boosted its funds for potential takeovers by selling its 50 per cent stake in FTSE International for £450 million – is known to be keen to acquire degree-awarding powers.

It has been quoted by David Willetts, the universities and science minister, as an example of a non-teaching organisation that could benefit from government reforms – now likely to be delayed – to relax the rules governing which bodies can award degrees.

Pearson also has experience of the legal complications of buying a charity (the cash proceeds of which must be invested in charitable purposes) after it took over Edexcel several years ago.

Hawkpoint, a corporate finance advisory firm that specialises in mergers and acquisitions, is said to be advising on the potential college sale, which was kick-started following a strategic review announced in September 2011.

Times Higher Education reported in December that Hawkpoint had organised a dinner in May 2011 attended by Mr Willetts, the College of Law and some of the firms that have been involved in the bidding process, including Pearson.

simon.baker@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald