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TDR Capital seeks sale of its City training business

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Private equity group TDR Capital is seeking to sell British education company BPP, the latest sign of a pick-up in deal activity amid stabilisation in global currencies.

London-based TDR, which is also behind supermarket chain Asda and pub group Stonegate, has hired bankers from Houlihan Lokey and Morgan Stanley to lead a sale process for the group later this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

BPP is a global education company that serves approximately 58,000 learners each year in 145 countries with training in areas such as law, accounting and digital marketing.

The Sunday Times newspaper, which first reported the sale plan, said the value could rise to as much as £2.5 billion, a significant increase since TDR invested in BPP three years ago, buying the company for less than £700 million, according to the person familiar with the details.

Under TDR’s ownership, BPP has made a number of acquisitions, including IT training provider Estio Training, digital specialist Firebrand Training and Buttercups Training, which offers programmes for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other healthcare professionals. The company also provides university education to 21,000 students, including one of the UK’s leading law schools.

The number of contracts signed is increasing worldwide as the global economy returns to more stable monetary conditions after a period of increased inflation. Financing conditions have already eased for many companies.

The education sector has been a popular target for private equity groups such as CVC Capital Partners, TPG and others in recent years.

BPP was founded in 1976 by Ian Brierley, Charles Prior and Richard Price, whose surnames formed the initials of the group’s name. The group was listed on the London Stock Exchange for a time and was then owned by Vanta Education, a group backed by funds managed by Apollo Global Management. TDR acquired BPP from Vanta in 2021.

Founded in 2002 by former bankers Manjit Dale and Stephen Robertson, TDR now manages assets worth over €15 billion. Earlier this month, the company announced it had agreed to become the majority owner of Asda, now owning just over two-thirds of the retailer.

TDR, Houlihan Lokey and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

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