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Online Schools Buying Offshore Institutions

British online newspaper The Independent is reporting on the recent acquisition of the British educational institution BPP. BBP has four campuses in the Greater London area as well as a functioning distance learning center and several campuses outside the country.

BPP describes itself as a "professional education" provider, noting that it is the first private education company to be listed on the British stock exchange - which occurred in 1986. During their first decade they were principally an accounting school but have since expanded their educational offerings into the legal field. They are principally known in London as one of the schools that trains graduate students in the field of law, for roles as barrister or solicitor. In British courts it is the solicitor that practices law before the court. A degree in the field would be similar to a juris doctor degree in the United States.

According to the Independent, the purchase of BPP is the biggest buyout of a public company in the UK since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Graduate education in the London business arena is a little different than the nationalized degree programs in the U.S. BPP provides a range of well regarded legal training programs and "is about to begin a tailor-made MBA for Simmons & Simmons, the City law firm." There are several schools that are licensed to train the elite group of attorneys who practice law in the City of London and BPP is among them.

At the moment, American for-profit schools and online educators are buying private institutions that engage in professional training. However a London-based educator sees the prospect of bigger things for the American education firms. Nigel Savage, chief executive of the College of Law, a competitor of BPP, says that the takeover of BPP will have implications that will be felt far beyond law schools. "Universities have got a lot to learn from the private sector," he says. "I would not be surprised to see an organization like Apollo or Kaplan or Pearson actually acquiring an English university."

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