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Private equity firm named as potential purchaser of College of Law

28 February 2012

Montagu Private Equity is set to acquire the College of Law in a £200m buyout deal according to a report by The Sunday Times.

Montagu is a specialist in management buyouts in Northern Europe, with enterprise values ranging between €100m and €1bn. It does not target specific industry sectors and has a diverse portfolio ranging from the electronics retailer, Maplin, to Harwich International Port, medical and pharmaceutical businesses and much else besides.

Previous reports suggested that education and publishing group Pearson were frontrunners in the bidding war to acquire the college, alongside other private equity firms Providence and Palamon Capital Partners, the group that bought a majority stake in QualitySolicitors last October.

The Sunday Times report also touched on how the acquisition would work in terms of the institution’s charitable status, which could complicate the process of being bought out by a private capital investor. It was suggested that the charitable entity may be preserved as a foundation to pay for scholarships, leaving the rest of the business to operate as a distinct commercial enterprise.

Speculation has been rife since the sale of the College of Law was announced last September following a strategic review and a restructuring of the registered charity, which led to several voluntary redundancies and the relocation of some staff.

A spokesman for the College of Law said: “We remain in a strategic review process, and, as and when that reaches a conclusion, we will of course let people know what the outcome of that strategic review decision process has been.”

A report by Dow Jones Financial News yesterday pinpointed Montagu as one of the mid-market private equity firms that had met their fundraising targets this year, while others were finding it more challenging, including Duke Street, which last month took a majority stake in personal injury group Parabis.

A spokesman for Montagu declined to comment.

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