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Nord Anglia back in UK buys Oxford International schools

International schools giant Nord Anglia Education, a familiar name to old UK EFL hands, has re-appeared on the British education scene with its recent acquisition of the schools division of Oxford International, as well as its top-end summer school brand, Bucksmore. 

Nord Anglia, which started life under founder Kevin McNeany as an EFL school chain in 1972, switched focus into the international schools market in the 1990s. Led by CEO Andrew Fitzmaurice since 2003, the acquisition of the three Oxford International operations means the chain now owns a total of 73 schools in 30 countries as it marks its entrance into the UK education market. Previously its headquarters were in Hong Kong, but the chain moved its central operations back to the UK last year.

Nord Anglia’s acquisition of the top-notch summer schools is part of a trend for chains of international schools to look to the summer market. One of its main rivals in the international schools’ market, Cognita, bought Ardmore in December 2019, while Dukes Education acquired SBS, our top-ranking summer operator in 2015.

Oxford International’s three year-round language schools, own-brand junior programmes and their burgeoning university pathways have also changed hands in a management buyout backed by THI Investments. 

THI is a family-owned private equity fund – or ‘family office’ – of German industrialists the Hegenmeyers. Family offices are seen as more likely to invest for the long term and, according to Bloomberg Law, offer an attractive investment alternative to business owners who want to avoid the ‘quick flip’ buying and selling more common with traditional private equity investments.

Also changing hands in a management buyout is the Cambridge language school and summer school operation Select English. It was spun off at the end of February when St Andrew’s College, an international boarding school previously under the same ownership, was bought at the end of February by Dukes Education. 

Image courtesy of Nord Anglia International
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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