A consortium of Chinese investors has acquired a closed-down British private school, in yet another example of mainland buyers sparing cash-strapped UK education businesses from extinction.

Shaanxi Junzi Education Investment, a vehicle backed by a chorus of Chinese investors, has exchanged contracts to purchase Abbots Bromley boarding school in Staffordshire, England, which was founded in 1874 but closed last July due to financial difficulties. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

News of the deal came just weeks after Richmond, The American International University was spared from bankruptcy after being acquired by a China-based investment group. A number of ailing private schools – including St Bees, which failed in 2015 but then was acquired and re-opened by Shenzhen-headquartered Full Circle – have fallen into the hands of Chinese investors in recent years. In February, Chinese investors acquired Wisbech Grammar School in Cambridge.

Spread over 60 acres of land, Abbots Bromley is co-educational and has capacity for around 600 students.

“Junzi has a vision to create an education organisation that prepares students for the 21st century using fusion education, bringing together the best of China and the UK and incorporating the most effective use of education technology,” said Helen Han, general manager of Junzi UK. “Abbots Bromley school has a rich history and produced great results for a non-selective school. We hope to get the school back to its former glory by investing in infrastructure, people and technology.”

GILT Education, headed by founder and chief executive Vipul Bhargava, advised on the transaction.

Date published: 22 April 2020

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