An education group that specialises in partnering with universities, but is opposed by many lecturers, is looking to private equity to take a minority stake in the business.
Into University Partnerships, which has joint ventures with universities, including Exeter and Newcastle, has hired Credit Suisse to find an investor. It is understood that an information memorandum will be sent to potential bidders in the next two weeks.
However, there are signs that interested parties might be put off by directors' high valuation. They believe Into could be worth as much as £1bn within 10 years, though an industry source suggested that the stake should not value the business at any more than £200m at present.
Into's chairman is Andrew Colin, who previously ran Study Group International, a specialist in English language training for foreign students. He sold it to Daily Mail & General Trust for more than £40m in 1999.
Into works with universities to improve accommodation and services for international students, to help increase the intake from lucrative overseas markets.