Laureate Education, owners of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) and Torrens University, has sold its Australian and New Zealand business to US-based Strategic Education.
The move spans Think Education (including BMIHMS), Torrens University and the Media Design School in New Zealand and the three operations have approximately 19,000 students enrolled in technical, undergraduate and postgraduate programs in a variety of academic disciplines, including business, education, hospitality, design and creative technology, and health.
Torrens University was founded by Laureate in 2014 and was the first new university to open in Australia in 20 years, while Think Education joined Laureate in 2013, seven years after it was established.
“On a daily basis, Torrens University Australia, Think Education and the Media Design School demonstrate that private investment in education can deliver significant public good,” said Torrens University Australia President and Think Education CEO, Linda Brown.
“This could not have been achieved without the support and investment Laureate Education provided to create the first new university in Australia in over twenty years, which now educates our more than 19,000 students.
“We are excited to be joining Strategic Education, Inc. – a US-based, publicly listed education provider dedicated to enabling economic mobility through education and at the forefront of technology-driven hybrid education.
“Torrens University Australia, Think Education and Media Design School will become part of a network that values the power of education and will allow us to maintain our innovative and global approach.
“We look forward to continuing to innovate locally and globally, to meet the future needs of our students and partners,” she said.
Brown said it will be “business as usual for students of each institution throughout the process” and there “will be no disruption to students’ course of study”.
Torrens University Australia Chancellor Michael Mann said the announcement has the full support of the Australian governing boards of Torrens University Australia and Think Education.
“Laureate Education’s legacy within our organisation and Australia is immense. Laureate trusted our team to establish Australia’s first new comprehensive university in 20 years, and we have achieved that,” he said. “Since 2014, Torrens University Australia has successfully focused on employable graduates, established significant industry partnership, and maintained focused research.
“We could not have achieved all of this without the support and guidance of the Australian Government, the South Australian Government, and the higher education regulators, who have trusted us while keeping us accountable throughout this journey.
“We now look forward to the next chapter alongside Strategic Education, Inc., and continuing to wholeheartedly support our students and staff as the institutions continue to grow through innovation.”
Strategic Education Chief Executive Officer, Karl McDonnell, said the Australasian acquisition was an exciting one.
“We’re excited to be expanding our business into the Australian and New Zealand markets,” he said. “We have been impressed by the growth and impact the three Laureate institutions have made and look forward to welcoming Torrens University, Think Education and Media Design School into our network.”
Torrens University, Think Education and Media Design School will remain part of the Laureate International Universities network until the closing of the transaction, which is expected to occur by the first quarter of 2021.