Investment March 2014
SectorEducation and Training
Business Schools, colleges and university pathway programmes
Why we invested
In 2014, Oxford International was in a great position to capitalise on the UK’s global reputation for high-quality education and the increasingly international outlook of students and their parents. The company needed a backer that could support it in further building its student intake, expanding its range of services and investing in its facilities and infrastructure.
Investing in education is a long-term strategy for Bowmark. Our belief is that the UK will continue to attract internationally mobile students as a result of demographic change and increasing incomes globally, especially in developing countries. Our view is that the UK’s unique mix of history, tradition and language will help it retain its special place in education for years to come.
Oxford International stood out as the management team had already built an impressive business. They had a well-defined roll-out strategy and the growth potential of the company was clear. With the right investment, the company’s network and capabilities could be leveraged to expand its range of provision and increase international student volumes.
The education market offered Oxford International the opportunity to further develop its services, attract talent and grow both organically and through acquisition.
Bowmark had already built-up relationships with a number of leading schools in the UK from its previous experience in the sector. We were therefore able to use our market knowledge and transaction experience to identify and acquire two independent schools, both based in Oxford, to become part of the group, as well as to find them new sites for expansion.
We also supported Oxford International in growing its number of university pathway programmes from one to five, in partnership with prestigious institutions such as De Montfort University in the UK and Jacobs University in Germany.
These steps enabled the company to expand its academic provision, where we had identified a long-term opportunity, in addition to its traditional focus on language schooling. This strategic move also enabled the business to adapt efficiently to the delivery of online learning at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We also helped the existing founders of Oxford International take a step back from the day-to-day running of the business, appointing Chris Spanoudakis as Executive Chairman and, in 2019, Lil Bremermann-Richard as Group Chief Executive Officer. Lil had been with the business as Group Commercial Director since 2017 and had played a key role in the successful development of the academic division.
Lil Bremermann-Richard,Group Chief Executive Officer