Chinese pull out of Westminster deal

The Chinese company that was buying Westminster Choir College from Rider University has pulled out of the $40 million deal.

Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology was facing potential litigation from local groups around Princeton and politicians were starting to rumble. Rider University has been left with egg on its face and a hole in its pants.

More here.

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  • The thing you learn about Princeton once you live there is that with the wealthiest population in New Jersey, and, undoubtedly, the best educated, everyone is invested in what happens to the town. This is hardly new. In the early 80s, the big dispute was whether or not to allow a Burger King to open on Nassau Street, the main street facing the university, across from Nassau Hall, the structure that served the Continental Congress for a short while and before that, received cannon fire from the British during the Revolution – the marks are still there. That contretemps was finally settled when Burger King agreed to continue the style of its facing to match all the other buildings on that side of the street.

    The town’s pride is in its educational institutions and, I guess, unlike a lot of towns, there were enough people who insisted on lifting the rock this time and seeing what was under it. And they didn’t see very much. The Chinese aren’t very transparent when it comes to business. It was not so much xenophobia, but the product of due diligence and a protective attitude toward their institutions. I’m happy that it wasn’t sold to a foreign for-profit and I’m willing to guess that Rider College will find a way to keep it in Princeton, although who knows?

    I can only say one thing, that the town of Princeton is still one of the most cocoon-like places I’ve ever been to on the east coast and it’s thrived that way for several centuries. It’s really an extraordinary place almost like going back in time. I just hope they solve this issue.

    • The statement Rider released yesterday says they’re moving the Choir College and the community Conservatory to the Lawrenceville campus. They’re not keeping the WCC in Princeton. Lots of speculation that this will be the death of WCC, they won’t survive the move.

    • Speaking of cocoon-like places, let’s not forget Princeton Record Exchange, the venerable purveyor of vinyl that attracts shoppers from five states …

  • Rider Univeristy says it will relocate the College and Conservatory to their campus in Lawrenceville, NJ. No one believes that they can survive the move. This is a plan to close Westminster and profit from the sale of the campus in Princeton.

    • Rider is only looking to make a profit themselves and not at all interested in the survival of the institution. Very sad the President of Rider can get away with this. Are there no culturally-minded millionaires with $40 million to save this jewel?

  • The article does not explore this move as part of the reaction to Trump’s tariffs. That is likely the main reason for the pullback.

  • Well, first off, Princeton is not the wealthiest town in NJ, not by median income nor property values. That said, if Rider wants to get rid of WCC, it is going to happen. Supporters of WCC may have been able to spook Kaiwen (nice work!) but in the end, Rider will not be required to continue something they want to close and having offered WCC to just about anyone who would buy it, the writing is likely on the wall. First, they will move it to another location and then, after folks get used to that, I would imagine the hammer will drop.

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