The Ufi has announced (http://www.ufi.com/home2/news/presscentre/rothschild.asp) that Ufi Charitable Trust, the charitable organisation which promotes learning and skills online, has appointed Rothschild to advise on the sale of its Ufi Limited business. Ufi Limited, the company behind the learndirect brand, had turnover of £140m last year and claims to have helped more than 3m people gain skills and qualifications in areas such as maths, English and IT since 2000.
The business, whose chief executive is Sarah Jones, operates across the UK and has 500 direct employees. It also employs about 2,000 people indirectly in a network of centres around the country. Its income comes from contracts with funding bodies, including the Skills Funding Agency, as well as the private sector.
Ufi was set up in 1998 in response to the Government’s concept of a University for Industry to use new technology to transform the delivery of learning and skills. Ufi Charitable Trust undertakes grant making activities to research and further the advancement of education for public benefit.
Comment: Times appear to be tough in the world of corporate technology-delivered learning. Recent weeks have seen a number of mergers and takeovers among private sector e-learning companies. Now, the public sector is getting in on the act. It will be interesting to see who steps up to buy Ufi Limited – and how much they pay.