BPP University has been sold to private equity house TDR Capital, confirming EducationInvestor Global’s exclusive report earlier this month.

The sale of the private higher and vocational education provider marks its first change of ownership since 2009, when it was bought by Vanta Education, which is owned by funds managed by Apollo Global Management and The Vistria Group.

On 8 March, EducationInvestor Global reported that BPP was on the cusp of being taken over from Vanta Education by TDR Capital, which owns stakes in supermarket group Asda and David Lloyd Leisure, the UK health and fitness club operator.

The transaction is TDR Capital’s first in the education sector, it is understood, and will see it take the reins of one of the UK’s largest for-profit higher education providers.

Following the deal, “BPP will be run as a standalone company under the existing management team and remain headquartered in London”, the group said in a press release, which notes that it caters to more than 80,000 students a year and providers training and apprenticeship courses to around 7,000 businesses.

“BPP believes that this partnership will provide valuable financial and operational resources to support the delivery of management’s growth strategy and drive long-term benefits for its key stakeholders including colleagues, partners, and students,” the firm said.

Houlihan Lokey, the US-headquartered investment bank, advised TDR Capital on its investment in BPP, it is understood.

Graham Gaddes, BPP’s chief executive, commented: “This is a significant vote of confidence not only in our business and our management team, but also its strategy and the long-term future of UK higher education and professional training.

“TDR are long-term investors with a strong track record of supporting management teams and investing in businesses to achieve growth. We believe they will prove excellent partners for BPP and we are hugely excited by the opportunity to continue building on our successes and achievements across the whole business, helping thousands of professionals and employers achieve their respective goals, as we continue ‘Building Careers Through Education’.”

Jon Rosen, partner, TDR Capital, said: “We are excited to work with Graham and his team and support the excellent work they are doing. We believe there are compelling opportunities to build on their strengths in the face of growing demand for high-quality education courses and training programmes.

“We have a history of supporting the successful growth of leading businesses across a number of different sectors, combining ambitious growth plans and strategic focus with targeted investment. This is an exciting time to be investing in education, an important sector for the UK and globally, as the need for highly skilled workers continually increases.”

Larry Berg, senior partner, Apollo Global Management, said: “On behalf of the ownership group, we are pleased that BPP will have a strong, local partner in TDR Capital that will continue to support and invest in the school and its students. We know the company will be in great hands with its new owners.”

Date published: 23 March 2021

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