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Having lost two Magic Circle clients, University of Law sold to GUS less than three years after purchase

Europe’s largest law school The University of Law (ULaw) has been sold by Montagu Private Equity to Global University Systems (GUS), less than three years after the private equity house acquired it and after losing two Magic Circle clients to rival BPP last year.

ULaw, which houses around 16,000 students, will continue to operate as a distinct academic institution and retain its governance structure with president and chief executive John Latham leading the university though former education secretary David Blunkett is being brought in to chair the board.

GUS plans to accelerate existing plans to diversify the university’s educational offering and expand into new countries, as well as increasing ULaw’s scholarship programme funding. The London School of Business and Finance-owner will look at having ULaw oversee academic standards, quality systems, processes and practices at its existing UK education providers.

The higher-education institutions network also plans to carry out a ‘strategic options review’ of all its UK regulated businesses and review the combined ULaw and GUS UK group structure.

ULaw lost both Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy as clients at the tail-end of 2014 with both turning to rival law school BPP. However, Linklaters announced it was renewing its partnership for five years with ULaw providing an increase in business management modules.

GUS founder and executive chairman Aaron Etingen said: ‘The acquisition of the University of Law adds an asset of unique strategic value to GUS. The options review exercise will deliver us a blue-print for one of the most comprehensive private universities in Europe. Having ULaw ultimately provide a proven 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.’

Linklaters acted for Montagu on the sale while Eversheds picked up the mandate from buyer GUS. Travers Smith advised the management of ULaw with a team led by Paul Dolman.