Home / Companies / Manipal group buys 50% in online varsity

Bangalore: Manipal Universal Learning International, part of the education arm of the Manipal group—which is into health care and education— has acquired a 50% stake in U21 Global, an online varsity, for an undisclosed sum.

The Mauritius-based Manipal Universal bought the stake from Cengage, which was earlier called Thomson Learning. The remaining 50% of the shares are held by a network of 20 leading universities including University of Nottingham, National University of Singapore, University of Melbourne, University of Virginia, University of Auckland and Waseda University.

The Singapore-headquar-tered U21 Global started operations in 2001 and currently offers management education courses. It has 4,000 students from 60 countries. Around 25% of the students are from India.

Says Anand Sudarshan, chief executive officer of Manipal Universal: “U21 Global investment complements Manipal’s existing portfolio of schools and fosters a multidisciplinary environment geared towards technology enabled learning."

He said the courses are targeted at the upper end of the online management education market with Indian students paying a fee of $10,000 (Rs4 lakh) for an MBA course.

Manipal group plans to invest $5 million in operating the varsity. “The other partners have put in a matching contribution," Sudarshan said. Manipal Universal will use its distribution network to boost U21’s programmes, he added.

Manipal group operates two universities—Manipal University and Sikkim Manipal University—apart from around 30 institutions in India. It also has colleges and university campuses in Antigua, Dubai, Malaysia and Nepal. It has about 125,000 students from 52 countries studying in various undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programmes.

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