News Corp. has signed a deal to acquire 90% of Wireless Generation, a private NYC-based education technology company for $360 million in cash. Wireless Generation will become a subsidiary and will be managed by founder and CEO Larry Berger, President and COO Josh Reibel, and EVP and Chief Product Officer Laurence Holt, who will collectively retain a 10% interest.
Established in 2000, Wireless Generation provides mobile and web software, data systems and professional services that enable teachers to use data to assess student progress and deliver individualized instruction. Serving more than 200,000 teachers and three million students across all 50 states, the company is dedicated to creating innovative tools to help educators teach smarter. It currently has 400 employees.
“When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching,” said News Corporation Chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch. “Wireless Generation is at the forefront of individualized, technology-based learning that is poised to revolutionize public education for a new generation of students.”
A recognized leader in the movement to personalize the educational experience through the use of data and technology, Wireless Generation also builds large-scale data systems that centralize student data, give educators and parents unprecedented visibility into learning and foster professional communities of educators with social networking tools. The Company is a key partner to New York City’s Department of Education on its Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) as well as on the City’s School of One initiative, named by TIME Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2009.
RBR-TVBR observation: The acquisition follows the trend of content providers moving into the educational space. Classrooms are more digital than ever and using the power of digital platforms to reach students with scholastic content can enhance the learning process. Other companies moving in this direction are NBC News with its “Science of NFL Football” series for schools and Discovery Education. As we’ve said before–yes, advertising may well be there to support the content.