More chatter about venture capital in UK HE
Education Investor runs a news story today about fives potential cases of private equity involvement in established English universities and even acquisitions. This was the focus of the final part of the initial article in Research Fortnight’s series, The Third Revolution.
It is how such equity investment would circumvent charity and university law that is most interesting. Eversheds, the legal firm in the article, have produced a research paper on new legal structures with which every student and academic should be familiar. It outlines one structure that would enable a for-profit to turn the existing charitable university into a subsidiary.
Note that Eversheds expects some deals to conclude shortly but that they won’t come to public attention for a few months. Is it your university?
From the article:
“Glynne Stanfield [of Eversheds] said that some universities who have been hit by big cuts to central funding grants were now turning to new sources of capital in a bid to remain competitive.“He argued that universities accepting private equity investment wouldn’t necessarily have to give up state grants, provided that the investor made a profit from operations that weren’t directly funded by public money. Sources of profit could therefore include a university’s research commercialisation projects, revenues from overseas campuses and from selling access to the institution’s degree awarding powers in the private sector, he said.”