Leeds’ BARBRI Buys Kaplan’s Altior

BARBRI, a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners, has acquired Kaplan Altior, a provider of professional training and assessment services, from Kaplan, Inc.

Cardiff-headquartered Altior, which was acquired by Kaplan in July 2008, provides classroom-based, online and in-house skills training and assessments to the legal and professional services sectors across the UK.

The company’s regulated courses and assessments portfolio includes the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Professional Skills Course, Trainee Litigation Programme and Higher Rights of Audience; other products include accredited courses for the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Altior also provides a range of non-regulated courses including management, compliance and bespoke in-house courses which are used to meet professional competence requirements of lawyers in England and Wales. Altior currently serves over 750 law firm clients, including over 25% of the top 100 UK law firms.

“This is an exciting development for BARBRI as we build our expertise in the Solicitors Qualifying Exam preparation course market,” said Sarah Hutchinson, managing director for BARBRI International. “Not only does it expand our client service team, but it also significantly enhances our base of experienced and well-respected tutors for specialist trainee and solicitor skills training.”

Dallas-headquartered BARBRI is a provider of legal education and training services to law students, law schools, legal practitioners and law firms. The company’s best known product is a seven-week bar review course which features lectures by law professors on the seven major areas covered on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) – torts, contracts, real property, evidence, criminal law, civil procedure and constitutional law – along with additional lectures on the specific law of the state in which the participant plans to take the bar. BARBRI offers preparation courses in every state and the District of Columbia for both the summer and winter administration of the bar exam.

BARBRI’s predecessors were founded in the 1950s by William Rutter in California and in 1967 by two Chicago attorneys – Lewis Collens and Beardsley Ruml. In 1974, San Francisco-based Bay Area Review (BAR) and Chicago-based Bar Review Inc. (BRI) were bought and merged by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich for $5 million. The new subsidiary was known as “Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Legal and Professional Publications,” but was marketed under the brand name BAR/BRI. The company was later acquired by Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Westlaw legal research system.

The buy of Altior is the eighth add-on acquisition for BARBRI since Leeds acquired the company in June 2011 from Thomson Reuters.

“We are excited about the partnership between BARBRI and Altior as it substantially increases the breadth of our law firm relationships and capabilities of BARBRI’s UK team,” said Jacques Galante, a partner at Leeds Equity. “Moreover, the acquisition positions BARBRI to be the leader in the UK’s Solicitors Qualifying Exam training market.”

New York City-based Leeds Equity Partners is focused exclusively on investing in the education, training and information services industries.  The firm was founded by Jeffrey Leeds and Robert Bernstein in 1993 and has raised and managed more than $2.7 billion of capital across six funds.

“We are delighted that our Kaplan Altior business will be joining BARBRI which has a strong reputation for high-quality training in the legal sector,” said Peter Houillon, CEO of Kaplan Professional UK and Ireland.

Ft. Lauderdale-based Kaplan, the seller of Altior, provides educational services to colleges, universities, and businesses, including higher education programs, professional training and certifications, test preparation and student support services. The company was founded in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan and acquired by Graham Holdings Company (then The Washington Post Company) in 1984.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | December 4, 2019

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