K-12 Dealmaking: Cambium Learning Group Acquires Rosetta Stone; IXL Learning Acquires Australian Firm

Contributing Writer

The last month has seen several deals close in the education market.

Cambium Learning Group announced the acquisition of language-learning powerhouse Rosetta Stone. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has backed an Indian ed-tech startup, and IXL Learning has agreed to acquire an Australian online education provider.

Byju’s received another significant infusion, and a Chinese ed-tech firm received a considerable investment from a New York private equity firm.

Cambium Learning Group acquires Rosetta Stone. Shareholders of Rosetta Stone, most famous for its language learning products, will receive $30 per share in cash, according to an announcement Monday by Cambium, a provider of digital education products.

The transaction represents an equity value of $792 million.

Cambium and Rosetta Stone anticipate the transaction will close during the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, according to the announcement.

Rosetta Stone also owns Lexia Learning, which was founded over 35 years ago and is a leader in the literacy education space, helping students build reading and oral language skills through instruction and assessment programs.

“This transaction represents the next step on a path that, over the past several years, has transformed our language business and built a previously small K-12 software business into a growing leader in education technology,” Rosetta Stone Chairman and CEO John Hass said in a statement. “As part of Cambium, we will have the scale and resources to fulfill our mission and to further leverage the strength of our outstanding team to continue building and delivering technology-based solutions that support the ability to change learners’ lives through language and literacy education.”

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative backs Indian ed-tech startup. Mumbai-based Eruditus, which works with top universities globally to offer over 100 executive-level courses to students in more than 80 countries, has raised $113 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its business, according to a press release.

While Leeds Illuminate and Prosus Ventures led the Series D round, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital also participated in the round, bringing Eruditus’ overall value to more than $700 million, according to TechCrunch.

Eruditus partners with top tier universities in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, India, and China to bring business and professional education to a global audience. The company has partnered with universities including MIT, Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge, and Wharton, among several others.

The company will use the new funds to increase engagement with new and existing partner universities, deepen operations in emerging markets, and invest in career-ready courses to meet the “skills required of the global workforce in the post-pandemic world,” according to the press release.

“Eruditus serves as a critical innovation partner for top universities as they expand online course offerings in response to workforce needs and market demand,” said Vivian Wu, managing partner, ventures for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We’re excited to support the growing partnerships between U.S. universities and those in India, China, and Latin America that are making truly high-quality education accessible to a broad and diverse range of students.”

IXL Learning agrees to acquire an Australian online education provider. IXL Learning, a K-12 personalized learning platform, has agreed to acquire North Sydney-based online education provider 3P Learning, according to a press release.

San Mateo, Calif.-based IXL aims to expand its product portfolio and international footprint in the ed-tech space.

3P Learning offers a suite of learning products for schools and families, covering math, literacy, and science, and serves about 5 million students in 17,000 schools globally.

“3P Learning stands out in a crowded field for its range of exceptional products and deep commitment to delivering real results for learners. We’re excited to welcome their talented team to IXL,” Paul Mishkin, CEO of IXL, said in a statement. “This agreement is a significant step towards realizing IXL’s mission to provide the world’s best learning experiences to students in the United States and abroad.”

IXL has acquired four companies in the last three years. In March 2020, the company acquired Vocabulary.com, which works to improve students’ literacy through vocabulary building; in 2019, IXL acquired online learning resource Education.com; and, in 2018, IXL acquired ABCya, a creator of over 400 educational computer games and apps for kids.

Byju’s gets infusion from DST Global. Indian ed-tech giant Byju’s has raised $122 million from DST Global, founded by Russian-Israeli millionaire Yuri Milner, according to a report in VC Circle.

The fundraise is part of a Series F funding round for Byju’s, and DST Global will hold a 1.2 percent stake in the company after the transaction is completed, according to the report.

The windfall comes two months after Byju’s raised an undisclosed sum from Bond Capital. Byju’s raised $200 million from U.S.-based Tiger Global Management in January, which notched the company an $8 billion valuation.

Chinese online education platform receives $150 million in Series E round from New York private equity firm. Huohua Siwei, a Chinese online K-12 math and science education platform, has received $150 million in a Series E round led by New York-based private equity firm KKR & Co., according to a report by Deal Street Asia.

Huohua has raised $340 million this year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said the number of users grew 67 percent since April.

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