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Music colleges rock and roll towards Sovereign sale

Britain’s leading rock music college is tuning up for a sale after its owner for the last decade drafted in a firm of City advisers.

Sky News understands that the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) has hired bankers at Houlihan Lokey to explore options for the business.

Sources said on Friday that a formal auction was likely to place during the coming months.

BIMM’s valuation was unclear on Friday, although it is expected to lure bids from other operators in the private education sector which are keen to add another specialist leg to their businesses.

BIMM, which has five colleges in the UK as well as sites in Dublin, Berlin and Hamburg, is best-known for kick-starting the careers of singer-songwriters such as James Bay, whose 2014 single Hold Back The River went platinum.


Other famous alumni include George Ezra and Tom Odell.

The company, which has been owned by Sovereign Capital, a private equity firm, since 2010, when it injected £10m into BIMM.

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A source close to the business said: “Demand for places has never been higher at BIMM and plans are being considered to ensure this remains the case for years to come.”

Based in Hove, east Sussex, BIMM is the market-leader in creative industries higher education in Britain, and is Europe’s biggest provider of contemporary music higher education.

The business has grown substantially under Sovereign’s ownership, and now has more than 6,600 students on its books.

It has recently begun expanding its offering by making a series of investments in developing areas such as Film & TV and Performing Arts education.

One insider said that further growth was anticipated, with the creative industries job market in the UK between 2011 and 2017 rising from 5.2% of all jobs to 6.1%.

BIMM boasts that 83% of its music graduates are in work in the sector within six months of leaving one of its colleges.

In accounts filed at Companies House for the year to 31 August 2018, BIMM reported an operating profit of £1.3m on revenues of £43m.

The news of BIMM’s prospective sale comes in the same week that Greenwich School of Management, an unrelated privately owned education provider, collapsed under tens of millions of pounds of debt.

BIMM declined to comment on Friday.


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