Leading South East Law firm, Thomson Snell & Passmore, has advised North Kent College (NKC) on its acquisition of the education related assets of Hadlow College. In a complex education administration transaction involving a number of different parties, Hadlow College, including Princess Christian Farm and the equestrian centre in Greenwich, and the Tonbridge campus of West Kent and Ashford College (WKAC) have been transferred to NKC, including all students and the education-related facilities of the two colleges.
The transfer comes after Hadlow College went into education administration in May 2019, and its sister college WKAC in August 2019. Following this, the Further Education Commissioner recommended the College Group be split up three ways with various parts acquired by NKC, East Kent Colleges Group and Capel Manor College.
Joanne Gallagher, partner and head of corporate and commercial at Thomson Snell & Passmore, and her colleague Joanne Wright, a partner in the commercial property team, jointly led the acquisition legal team for NKC. This involved extensive due diligence, due to the size of the property portfolio across several sites in Kent and South East London. The transaction involved working with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the primary objective to ultimately achieve continuity of education and training for the learners. The deal completed on 15 August 2020 ready for the start of the new academic year.
Commenting on the transaction, Joanne Gallagher, partner at Thomson Snell & Passmore says: “We are delighted that this complex deal, which has taken many months of careful planning, has now come to fruition for our client. This was a fairly unusual transaction, as the Hadlow College Group is one of only a few colleges in the UK to have gone through the new education administration process. The deal involved many moving parts and different stakeholders. We are pleased to have been able to harness our combined experience of accelerated M&A and commercial property expertise in the education sector, to help complete this transaction for North Kent College.”
Commenting on this, David Gleed, Chief Executive and Executive Principal of North Kent College, said: “We are delighted to welcome the staff and students from Hadlow and West Kent Colleges into a larger college. As we move into this exciting new chapter it brings with it a wealth of opportunities. We’ve secured course provision for all current and new learners and this is the outcome we have worked exceptionally hard to achieve.
“The union will strengthen the breadth of our curriculum offer and our training provision across Kent and equip students with the skills and knowledge to prepare them for successful careers and further studies.
“We will continue to serve all local communities and build working relationships across the County, striving to ensure a strong and consistently reliable offer. We are looking forward to the future, the evolution of our extended portfolio and developing our robust and diverse vocational offer further.”