International law firm Simmons & Simmons and Indian law firm DSK Legal have jointly advised IDP Education Ltd., an Australian listed entity, on the acquisition of the British Council’s International English Language Testing System (IELTS) business in India for £130m.

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is the world’s most popular English language test for study and migration and is trusted by more than 10,000 organisations around the world as a secure and reliable indicator of English language proficiency. IDP is a leading international education service facilitating international students’ study in English speaking countries. The new deal will mean that there will be no service interruption during the British Council’s transfer of operations to IDP and students will still study under the long established IELTS programme.

The terms of the agreement negotiated provide that IDP will purchase 100% of the British Council’s India IELTS business on a debt free, cash free basis. Existing British Council employees will join the IDP team when the deal completes in August.

The Simmons team was led by corporate partner Arthur Stewart and counsel and head of the India group for UK corporate, Shashwat Patel with assistance from corporate supervising associate, Callum Bailey. Disputes partner Patrick Boylan and IP partner Adrian Smith also provided significant input. The DSK team was led by corporate M&A partners Aparajit Bhattacharya and Harvinder Singh.

Commenting on the deal, Arthur said: “It was a pleasure to act for our client IDP on this strategically important transaction in India. We look forward to the future success of the business.” Shashwat said: “The deal is significant from an India perspective given its size and scale and reflects the continued interest that India is generating around the world. The sector is also particularly exciting.

From DSK Legal, India, commenting on the deal Aparajit said, “It was a pleasure for us here at DSK Legal, India to act for IDP Education on this landmark transaction. Spread across three jurisdictions (India, UK and Australia), the entire team came out strong working together through the pandemic to create a win-win for all stakeholders. Congratulations to IDP Education and British Council, and all the advisors who worked on the transaction. Great multi-jurisdictional team effort. The sector has a lot to offer and we look forward to working closely with the IDP team in growing the business further here in India.” Harvinder said: “We are absolutely delighted to have assisted IDP, in partnership with Simmons. Our continuous collaboration with Simmons allowed us to deliver better for IDP and this will strengthen our reputation as a go to firm for the largest and most complex M&A transactions.

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