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Fusion Deal: BMI sold to THE

Updated: Feb 28

London -- THE (Times Higher Education), the world’s leading provider of higher education data and insights, is delighted to have completed the acquisition of BMI, the leading global organiser of international student recruitment events.

The acquisition brings together two globally renowned brands in higher education, with a reach of over 20 million prospective international students each year and will significantly expand the range of options universities have to engage with prospective students – both in person, and online.

Since 1987, BMI’s aim has been to help the global mobility of students. Their in-person events consist of global and regional Scholarship Summits, international high school counsellor workshops and international student recruitment fairs. Virtual student recruitment fairs take place across the world on their exclusive Talk Global Study platform which also hosts events for specific countries and individual institutions. Its digital advisory platform, Viva Mundo, is one of the leading study abroad platforms in Latin America. More than 2,400 institutions from over 40 countries have participated in BMI events including national government bodies such as the British Council, Campus France, DAAD, Education in Ireland, EduCanada, EducationUSA, Austrade, the European Commission and the Ministries of Education from around the world.

Having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021, THE continues to provide news, insights and thought leadership, and works with thousands of universities globally, collecting data from more than 3,500 institutions, and working with 800 clients across its data, consultancy and hiring services. It is also known for its events for higher education professionals, including the flagship THE World Summit Series, which engaged over 45,000 people globally in 2021.

In May 2021, THE launched THE Student, a student-facing division of its business to work with a range of trusted partners from across the industry to provide comprehensive advice and guidance to its annual audience of over 15 million prospective international students. The acquisition of BMI follows a series of successful “THE Student Fairs”, run in partnership with BMI, last year, enabling institutions to engage with students across Asia and Africa.

The acquisition will leverage THE Student’s extensive global engagement with millions of prospective international students, raising awareness of BMI’s unparalleled series of advisory and student recruitment events. THE will collaborate with BMI on event content and unlocking its brand reach, unique data and insights for their hundreds of thousands of annual event attendees. The BMI directors are all fully committed to remaining with the business during the next phase of its growth.

The acquisition of BMI rapidly follows THE’s acquisition of Inside Higher Ed, with combined audiences exceeding 50 million unique users per year, encompassing university leadership, faculty, professional staff and students, as well as policy makers and others. With offices in the UK, U.S., Australia and Singapore, THE was acquired by Inflexion Private Equity in February 2019 following a period of rapid global growth.

Samir Zaveri, CEO and President of BMI said:

“Last year, we ran some very successful virtual events in partnership with THE in Africa, India and Asia which allowed us to see the massive student audience they reach. It also allowed us to fully understand how we can leverage this audience to further improve our current events and potentially launch new ones in key student recruitment countries and regions across the world.

"Therefore, joining forces felt like a natural partnership given the popularity of THE’s university rankings and the need for prospective students to meet institutions at world-class virtual and physical events across the world. By coming together, millions of students using their platform will now be able to meet universities at BMI’s leading international education fairs.

"Throughout our 35 years of experience in the international education industry, we’ve seen that students are eager to learn more about the wide range of courses and education institutions across the world and enabling them to connect with those institutions at our events will give them additional opportunities and help them make more informed decisions in their academic journeys.”

Paul Howarth, CEO at THE, commented:

“Bringing together the world’s leading student recruitment events business with one of the world’s largest and most renowned study abroad platforms is an incredibly exciting development at Times Higher Education. Together we can transform the events landscape for students looking to study abroad – both in person and online - connecting them with institutions that best serve their requirements and helping them into international study across a wide range of destination countries.

"Samir, Sangin, Rupert, Philippe and their team have built one of the truly global brands in the international education sector and should be tremendously proud of what they have achieved to date. We have spoken to hundreds of universities worldwide and have found that BMI couldn’t be more highly regarded. We have a well-established working relationship between the THE Student and BMI teams, and the coming together of our brands and likeminded teams is a very natural fit. All of us at THE look forward to collaborating with the BMI directors and their team on the next stage of their exciting growth journey.”

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