Apollo In Bid For British Group BPP

Thursday, April 30, 2009

An American joint venture involving Carlyle, the private equity group, and Apollo, an education specialist, has made a takeover approach worth more than £300 million for BPP, Europe’s largest accountancy training company and operator of one of the UK’s leading law schools.  BPP, the UK’s only for-profit institution that is allowed to award degrees, made operating profits of £21m in 2008 on revenues of £165m.  Roddy Davidson, an analyst at Altium, said the all-cash offer was “quite a bold call” for the education market. 

Enrolments to law and accounting courses are more resilient to economic downturns, and BPP also holds the status of being the only for-profit body with the right to award degrees.  Apollo Global owns a university in Chile and has a majority stake in a university in Mexico, but the investment would be its first big foothold in Europe.  As well as BPP’s UK businesses, the company has operations in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and Ireland.  The company is a subsidiary of Apollo Group, the US-based adult education company that owns the University of Phoenix, and is 20% owned by Carlyle, the private equity group.  It is not connected to Apollo Global Management, the New York-based private equity firm.  The University of Phoenix is the world’s largest provider of MBAs, according to the Financial Times’ annual rankings, with 67,700 enrolled students on the courses.

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