Strategic Mergers and Acquisitions in Higher Education: A Case Study from the UK

Margarita Georgieva, Abdelrahman Abdelazim


A recent trend for higher education in the UK sees increased collaboration and partnerships between technical colleges and universities. This represents a significant step in the redesign of the educational landscape that aims to synergise the industry advantages of colleges with the academic strengths of universities. The initial research fort this paper consists in investigations into technical college mergers with universities and university acquisitions of the period 2018-2020, along with an analysis of the advice and guidance circulated by the Association of Colleges (AoC) since April 2016. A case study has then been chosen to illustrate the main features of such merges across higher education. SWOT, PESTLE and Porter’s Five Forces analyses of a merger case study are followed by stakeholder analysis of the Board and Trustees, the companies that are closely or remotely linked to the success of the trust and the links that exist between the various players in this emerging network of educational institutions and organisations. The paper examines published financial statements from Coventry University, analysing the economic and other effects of the mergers. This paper focuses on Better Futures Multi Academy Trust (BFMAT), a collective of sixth form colleges now part of Coventry University Group (CUG). The work examines the Trust institutions and the effects the mergers have had on strategic business development, analysing BFMAT colleges pre- and post- merger, utilising CATWOE and Balanced Scorecard analyses. Some of the benefits noted so far are the increase of the sphere of influence of CUG, a broader recruitment pool, with greater diversity and inclusivity potential, which leads to a better fit with Government policies, market trends and industry demand. Given current data made available by the institutions, the paper presents a range of recommendations for future development and concludes that overall performance is positive, and the alliance represents a good example of a valuable merge.

Keywords: strategic business development, education business

DOI: 10.7176/EJBM/12-33-01

Publication date: November 30th 2020

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