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Chinese university buys campus space near Oxford

[ London] China's Peking University is buying a 19th-century manor house near Oxford in southern England to use as a campus in a multimillion-dollar deal, the estate agent handling the deal told AFP on Thursday.

Foxcombe Hall, which has a vaulted banqueting hall, Italian-style gardens and a lake, is to become a branch of Peking University's HSBC Business School.

"I can confirm we've exchanged contracts with completion due next month," said Jon Silversides, partner at estate agency Carter Jonas.

The price of the transaction has not been released but the estate was reportedly originally listed at £7 million (S$12.2 million).

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"I can confirm that we're regarding around that figure," Mr Silversides said, adding: "Their proposal, I believe, which has also been in the press, is for a business school".

The campus located just outside Oxford, a hub of British academic excellence, will not be part of the world-famous University of Oxford.

Spread over 6.17 hectares (15.25 acres), the campus centre piece is the original house, built in the 1890s, which also includes a tower and an original carriage drive.

Other buildings were then subsequently added, and the complex had been used by the Open University - one of the UK's biggest universities - since 1976.

Peking University was ranked 71 in a ranking of the world's top 100 universities published by the independent Shanghai Ranking Consultancy last year.