Global University Systems has acquired UK-based legal education provider The University of Law. No financial terms were disclosed. The seller was Montagu Private Equity. Nomura and Quayle Munro served as advisors to GUS on the transaction.
The University of Law (“The University” or “ULaw”) today announces that it has been acquired by Global University Systems BV (“GUS”), a leading education and training provider with global interests and ambitions.
Following the sale, ULaw will continue to operate as a distinct academic institution, retaining the strong governance structures which have helped establish its reputation for academic excellence. John Latham will continue to lead the University as President & CEO together with the rest of the executive team.
Immediately post completion, GUS will initiate a Strategic Options Review of all its UK regulated businesses, assisted by external expert advisors.
That Review will consider the optimal structure for the combined ULaw and GUS UK group. It will also look at whether existing GUS UK entities can benefit from ULaw’s proven approach to quality assurance, enhancement and the attainment of the highest standards of regulatory compliance. The Review will report to the GUS UK and ULaw boards. This process may see re-alignment of some, or all, of GUS UK’s existing businesses under the umbrella of ULaw, so that post the Review, the ultimate oversight of academic standards, quality systems, processes and practices rests with the University.
Such an arrangement would combine the University’s strengths in providing sector-leading student outcomes and employability, with GUS affiliates’ broader subject base, international reach and track-record of innovation (which was recently recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise).
GUS and ULaw have also entered into a formal Governance Agreement that is consistent with the arrangement made between the University and its previous owners Montagu. This will ensure that the governance systems and management team that have helped drive ULaw’s success are retained.
The University’s commitment to quality and standards has helped it deliver some of the highest student satisfaction and employability rates in the higher education sector. In the 2014 National Student Survey, ULaw was ranked joint 2nd amongst universities with a student satisfaction level of 92%, while the employability rate for ULaw’s LPC graduates in 2013 stood at 98%.
Similarly, the GUS Group’s existing subsidiaries and associates have established an outstanding reputation for professional accountancy training and innovation in online education. Most recently, 15 of its students were prizewinners in the December 2014 ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) examinations, scoring in the top 20 places worldwide.
The change of ownership will make available to the University substantial additional capital and enable it to accelerate delivery of existing plans for further growth, diversification, and geographic expansion. Increased funding will also be provided to the University of Law’s scholarship programme, which has expanded significantly over recent years.
Former Education Secretary of State David Blunkett will Chair the Board of the University, which will retain the previous scale of representation of Independent Non-Executive Directors.
Aaron Etingen, Founder and Executive Chairman of Global University Systems, said:
“The acquisition of the University of Law adds an asset of unique strategic value to GUS. The options review exercise will deliver us a blue-print for one of the most comprehensive private universities in Europe. Having ULaw ultimately provide a proven governance and quality framework for GUS’ UK interests is a major benefit to us and will further enhance the impact of our work with students and employers alike.”
RT HON David Blunkett, Incoming Chairman of The University of Law, added:
“I am looking forward to joining the University of Law as Chair of what will continue to be a strong and independent Board of Directors. This combination of the global reach and resources of GUS with the record and strengths of ULaw will enable us to accelerate delivery of the University’s existing and ambitious plans for international growth, diversification, and further enhancement of the student experience.”
Nomura and Quayle Munro advised GUS on the transaction.
About Global University Systems
Global University Systems (GUS) is an international network of higher-education institutions headquartered in Amsterdam. With institutions and affiliates across the UK, Canada, Germany and Singapore the group educates over 50,000 students from 160 different nationalities. Through its network of schools and partners, GUS provides a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate, professional, executive and language courses on campus, online and via blended learning. Employing over 1,500 full time faculty and administrative staff globally, the group has direct presence in over 30 locations worldwide. For more information on GUS visit www.globaluniversitysystems.com
About The University of Law
The University of Law (ULaw) is the largest provider of professional legal education and training in the world with centres in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, Manchester and Leeds. Previously The College of Law, it was granted university title in November 2012.
It is widely regarded for its expertise in legal training – all of its tutors and course designers are qualified solicitors or barristers and have practice experience. It works closely with law firms and chambers of all sizes and exclusively delivers the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to trainees at many of the leading global law firms. In February 2015 ULaw launched an MSc in Law, Business and Management.
ULaw is proud of its record of empowering students from all backgrounds to achieve their legal career goals. It supports qualified lawyers throughout the profession with a comprehensive programme of professional development courses. The commitment of the University to the employability of its students is reflected in its most recent destination figures: based on known destinations, 98% of full time LPC students who graduated in summer 2013 had secured employment within nine months of graduation.
It 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 it became the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers. In September 2012 ULaw launched an undergraduate LL.B law degree focusing on employability and professional legal skills, ranking joint second amongst universities for satisfaction in the 2014 National Student Survey.
More recently, ULaw has launched an Apprenticeship as part of its mission to widen access and support those whose ambition it is to work in the law. More details can be found here www.law.ac.uk/apprenticeships/
For further information about ULaw please visit www.law.ac.uk
About RT HON David Blunkett
David Blunkett was the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough from 1987 to 2015. He served as Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair’s Cabinet. Following his retirement from parliament, he has recently been appointed Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield.