Stephen specialises in advising Universities and Colleges on all aspects of funding and project structuring, particularly in relation to student accommodation provision and other partnership projects or joint ventures, in the UK and beyond. He also provides strategic and financial advice to corporates engaging in partnerships with Universities and in related M&A activity, particularly for student accommodation sales and acquisitions.
Recent transactions include the sale of St Modwen’s interests in 2432 beds at Swansea University’s Bay Campus to UPP (University Partnerships Programme) for a total consideration of £125m, Unite’s £227m acquisition of Aston Student Village (3000 beds) and University of Oxford’s £4bn joint venture with L&G for strategic property development. He is currently advising a top London University on acquisition of student accommodation in a forward funding arrangement, including a full procurement process for an operating and funding partner.
Stephen advised Swansea University since 2008 on funding and delivery of its £500m Bay Campus, including its joint venture with Navitas plc for international pathway course provision with new academic and residential provision, funded in part by an income strip from M&G. He also recently advised the University of Reading on restructuring of its Malaysia Campus including a detailed financial and operational review leading to renegotiation of the campus leases and a reduction in space taken at EduCity with significant financial savings for the University.
Stephen also advised the University of Sussex on its £225m partnership with Balfour Beatty for student accommodation provision which was funded by Assured Guaranty and advised a Chinese Sovereign Wealth Fund on its acquisition of a minority stake in UPP.
Prior to this, Stephen advised Swansea and Bangor Universities on their loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB). He remains active in seeking alternative funding solutions for a wide range of Universities, including capital markets and institutional funds. Outside of education, he advised the Royal Academy of Arts in London on a private placement.
Stephen joined Quayle Munro in May 2001 from transport operator FirstGroup, having previously worked in transport consultancy and the public sector, and set up QMPF following an MBO in July 2012. Stephen is a Trustee of three charities with a focus on young people, Scotland and Rwanda.