London, 17 April 2012. Following a comprehensive Strategic Review, the Governors of The College of Law (“College”) today announce that the College’s legal education and training business will be separated from its on-going charitable activities. The Governors have agreed the sale of the legal education and training business, which will continue to be known as The College of Law, to the leading European private equity firm Montagu Private Equity (“Montagu”) under the terms of a conditional agreement.
The proceeds of the sale will contribute to a significant fund, in excess of £200million with which the charity – set to be renamed The Legal Education Foundation – will further its charitable object to promote the advancement of legal education and the study of law for future generations of students through bursaries, scholarships and grants. The Legal Education Foundation will be one of the largest independent educational charities in the UK.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor David Yates, Chairman of the Governors, said:
“The College of Law was established over 50 years ago as a charitable institution with the specific object of the advancement of legal education. Over the decades, the College has become the leading professional law school in the UK and now competes in an increasingly commercial marketplace. Given the changing education environment, it was appropriate for the Governors to undertake a major Strategic Review of the best way for the charity to meet this objective in the future. Montagu’s investment will give The College of Law the freedom and support to continue to build its position as a leading professional legal education institution in the UK and internationally. The Governors were clear in their views that Montagu would be an excellent guardian of the College, ensuring a continuation and enhancement of the focus on academic excellence, exceptional teaching and client service that has long characterised the College’s work.
We are delighted to have secured a significant fund in perpetuity for The Legal Education Foundation which will be able to focus on the charitable objectives of ensuring the legal education market is fair, diverse and open to all.”
Montagu Private Equity is one of Europe’s leading private equity firms. A new company owned by funds managed by Montagu will acquire the entire legal education and training operations of the College. This includes contractual commitments with law firms, as well as “The College of Law” brand and all its accreditations, thus enabling it to continue to award such qualifications, and seamlessly maintain the operation of the College for all clients, students and staff. Montagu is supporting the existing management team, led by Nigel Savage, and staff of the College.
Montagu has also appointed Sir Tim Wilson as a non-executive director of the newly created Board of the College. Sir Tim will have special responsibility for monitoring academic standards and quality, and will Chair the Academic Audit and Standards Committee. He is a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire and author of the recent report commissioned in the 2011 Higher Education White Paper –‘A Review of Business - University Collaboration’. Sir Tim is also a former Board member of HEFCE and a current non-executive director of student accommodation company The UNITE Group plc.In addition to supporting the continuity of existing business operations and teaching activities, Montagu is committing to establish a College Scholarship Fund with an investment of £2m for the benefit of the College’s students. Montagu will also place 2% of the fully diluted share capital in the ultimate holding company of the College, as at completion of the sale, into the scholarship fund.
Nigel Savage, CEO of The College of Law, said:
“Today is the beginning of an exciting new era in the history of the College for all concerned: our people, students, law firms and all other stakeholders. The market for legal services is embracing new business models and a change in our ownership structure will enable us to access investment and expertise to take full advantage of the huge opportunities in the domestic and global legal education market. This will build on our heritage and connections with law firms and organisations such as the Open University and International Bar Association.
In Montagu, we have an experienced and well-resourced partner to help us work with our first class staff to continue and enhance our core values of world-class and innovative teaching focused on employability. Our vision is to be the leading world-class professional law school.”
Alex Dabbous, Director at Montagu, said:
“We are very pleased to be investing in this exceptional education institution. The College of Law’s strength lies in the quality of its education provision, decades of experience from talented staff and management, its national footprint and excellent facilities. We share management’s vision to grow the business, enabling it to reach its full potential, and focus on delivering the highest standards of education that The College of Law is reputed for. We are delighted that Sir Tim Wilson has accepted our invitation to join the Board, as his extensive experience from his decades of work with higher education institutions will add significant value to the College."
The Governors of The College of Law were advised by Hawkpoint Partners Limited and Allen & Overy LLP.
About The College of Law
The College of Law is the leading provider of professional legal education and training in Europe with centres in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, Manchester and York.
The College is widely regarded as the expert in legal training, with all tutors and course designers qualified solicitors or barristers and having practice experience. They work closely with law firms and chambers of all sizes and exclusively deliver the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to trainees at many of the leading global law firms.
The College is proud of its record of empowering students from all backgrounds to achieve their legal career goals. As well as being a leading provider of the LPC, they support qualified lawyers throughout the profession with a comprehensive programme of professional development courses and in 2008 launched a Master’s LL.M programme in professional legal practice.
The College also provides the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to give non-law graduates an entry route into the profession and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for prospective barristers. In 2006 the College was the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers. In September 2012 the College will launch a two-year undergraduate LL.B law degree focusing on employability and professional legal skills.
About Montagu Private Equity
Montagu Private Equity is one of Europe’s leading private equity companies. Founded in 1968, Montagu can look back on more than 40 years’ experience in investing in more than 400 transactions.
Montagu has a strong track record of supporting portfolio companies, dedicating significant resource to management teams as well as additional capital expenditure to fund further growth. Montagu also has considerable expertise helping businesses to accelerate their growth in their home markets as well as to internationalise and expand their customer base. This approach has led to real growth across Montagu’s portfolio as evidenced in the thirteen companies which comprise Montagu’s third fund.
Montagu is currently investing from its fourth fund, Montagu IV, which successfully raised €2.5 billion for investments in 2011. The College of Law is Montagu IV’s second investment and follows the acquisition of Emitel, the leading owner and operator of terrestrial TV and radio broadcast infrastructure in Poland, in June 2011.
The primary investment focus of Montagu is on management buyouts of companies that operate in stable markets with transaction values ranging from €100 million to €1 billion. Montagu has over €4.7 billion of assets under management. Headquartered in London, Montagu also has offices in Düsseldorf, Manchester, Paris, Stockholm and Warsaw.