CoL sale to Montagu Private Equity paves way for bursary plan

The College of Law (CoL) has sold its legal education and training business to European private equity firm Montagu, separating itself from its ongoing charitable activities.

As originally revealed by Lawyer 2B in its spring edition (23 February 2012), the proceeds of the sale will contribute to a fund in excess of £200m, which the charity will use to further its charitable objectives by providing bursaries, scholarships and grants to future students.

Montagu is also set to invest £2m in a College Scholarship Fund for the benefit of the college’s students, along with placing 2 per cent of the fully diluted share capital in the ultimate holding company into the fund.

In a statement CoL chief executive Nigel Savage said: “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.”

He added that the sale will not complete for between two to three months and the charity commission will have to see a business plan for the foundation.

The charity, set to be renamed The Legal Education Foundation, will now be one of the largest independent educational charities in the UK.

The governors of CoL were advised on the sale by longstanding counsel Allen & Overy (26 January 2012), while CoL mnagement team was advised by Ashurst.

Savage added that it is planned that CoL will become a global law school and that a physical presence within the global market could develop in the next few years. The focus at the moment is to continue to attract overseas students to the UK while looking for global tie-up opportunities.

The news comes as the law school giant is expected to launch in Singapore, a move that would make it becoming the first British law school to open a campus in Asia.

The CoL has declined to comment on these plans.