The University of Law has changed hands for the second time in less than three years.
The institution yesterday announced it had been acquired by international education and training provider Global University Systems (GUS), which has its headquarters in the Netherlands. No financial details were released.
GUS already owns the London School of Business and Finance and the London College of Contemporary Arts. The company will now start a ‘strategic options review’ of all its UK businesses that could see some or all of them come under the umbrella of ULaw.
The university was acquired by Montagu Private Equity in November 2012, and the new owner has said it will enter a formal governance agreement that is ‘consistent’ with the previous arrangement.
Aaron Etingen, founder and executive chairman of GUS, said the acquisition adds an ‘asset of unique strategic value’.
He added: ‘The options review exercise will deliver us a blueprint for one of the most comprehensive private universities in Europe.
‘Having ULaw ultimately provide a 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.’
The announcement did not state how much the university was bought for, but it did say that the change of ownership will make ‘substantial additional capital’ available to help it grow, diversify and expand to new sites.
Former education secretary David Blunkett will chair the board of the university.
Earlier this month underlying ULaw profits (defined as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) climbed to £18.5m in the year to 31 July 2014. This compared with £14.1m in 2013 and £11.8m in 2012. Net income edged up to £70.3m last year from £69.6m in the previous 12 months.
At the pre-tax level, however, UoL Ltd posted a loss of £5.6m, down from £7.7m in 2013. This was attributed to the accounting treatment of purchased goodwill, which is being written off over five years. No dividend was paid.
Directors’ pay (excluding pension payments and amounts paid to third parties) totalled £1,416,000 in the year to 31 July, the accounts disclose. The figure for the 18 months to 31 July 2013 was £791,000, though it is understood that the 2013 total relates to a 10-month trading period only.
The highest-paid director, whose identity is not disclosed, received £366,000 (up from £236,000). One director, identity undisclosed, was paid £125,000 in compensation for loss of office in 2013/14.
In March this year the university was granted an alternative business structure licence, allowing it to expand its Legal Advice Clinic, where trainee solicitors provide legal advice on a pro bono basis to members of the public in various areas of social welfare law, supervised by experienced solicitors.