Oxford University has enlisted J.P. Morgan to lead the first bond sale in its 850-year history. The university, home to 50 Nobel Prize winners, reached out to the firm for its £750 million debut debt issue. At 100 years, the bond will have the longest maturity of any from a British university and longer than any public issue of U.K. government bonds or gilts.
In addition to evaluating an opportunity to raise long-dated sterling debt, the firm also helped the university achieve a triple-A credit rating.
“We interpret the success of this bond as a statement of confidence by the markets in education generally, and in particular, in the University of Oxford.”
- Professor Louise Richardson
Vice-Chancellor, Oxford University
The university's vice-chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, said in interviews that the success of the sale will give them "confidence and freedom" to spend on major developments, with plans to invest £1.5 billion in building projects over the next 10 to 15 years.
While individual colleges at Oxford have issued debt in the past, this is the first time that the university as a whole has tapped the market.
Oxford follows Cambridge University and several other U.K. higher-education institutions entering the debt market in recent years to take advantage of the low interest rate environment.
The historic bond sale reinforces J.P. Morgan’s high standing in the sterling debt capital markets, and as a leading ratings advisor.
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