K-12 Dealmaking: Ariz. State Launches Ed Tech Partnership; K12 Inc. Acquires LTS Education Systems

Contributing Writer

In recent dealmaking news, K12 Inc. purchased a publisher of digital game-based learning technology while Arizona State University partnered with investors to get new ed tech to the market faster.

K12 Inc. Buys LTS Education Systems: The online education provider recently acquired ed-tech company LTS Education Systems for $20 million, according to a transcript of the company’s third quarter earnings call last week.

CEO Stuart Udell said K12 has been looking to make multiple strategic acquisitions and partnerships that expand the company’s distribution, enhance its product set and improves K12’s technology platform, and that LTS fits these requirements, according to the call transcript from Seeking Alpha.

Udell called LTS a “proven educational technology company that provides flexible learning solutions at 1,500 school and afterschool sites” with a core product, Stride Academy, an SaaS offering that “blends instruction, assessments and games into a mobile field practice and test readiness solution.”

“It is adaptive, it’s gamified, it’s engaging and it’s mobile, all of which we know works and it’s where we’re heading as an organization,” Udell said about the product.

LTS’s customer base has very minimal state or client overlap with K12’s current FuelEd customer base, Udell noted. “Therefore, we will be able to take advantage of cross-sell opportunities with FuelEd solution set,” he said, referring to Fuel Education, a personalized learning solutions provider which operates as a separate legal entity owned by K12. Click here to read more about the 2014 rebranding.

Udell added that “while LTS is an already profitable company with $8 million in revenues at the onset, we believe the growth prospects for Stride Academy and the cross-sell potential for FuelEd’s product set will make this acquisition a strong growth driver for K12 in the future.”

Fuel Education and LTS last week announced an exclusive partnership that will aim to enable FuelEd to deliver schools and districts supplemental options for skills practice, assessment, and test readiness across all core subjects, according to a press statement.

ASU Launches Ed Tech Partnership: Arizona State University has launched an initiative with venture capital firm Draper Associates and GSV, a consortium of education-technology investors, to help get education technology to the market faster, according to a statement from the university.

The initiative — the ASU Draper GSV Accelerator — will source, fund, pilot and credential new products created by higher-education technology companies and allowing new ventures to be tested by students and faculty.

Applications to join the program will be available on EdTechAccel.com on May 1.

Other higher education institutions have become involved in trying to shape the ed tech market, and ease the path for companies that have difficulty finding educators willing to test their products.

The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, for instance, is advising the Jefferson Education Accelerator, a commercial project that gives ed-tech companies that ability to have their products tested in K-12 systems and colleges.

Pearson to Sell GlobalEnglish Corp.: Education and publishing company Pearson is planning to sell GlobalEnglish Corp., a cloud-based software to teach English to business users, according to Sky News. Pearson purchased the company in 2012 for $90 million in cash.

Spin Master Acquires Toca Boca and Sago Mini: Canadian children’s entertainment company Spin Master Corp. has agreed to acquire digital toy company Toca Boca and Sago Mini, a creator of mobile apps for children ages 2-5 from the Bonnier Group of Sweden. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking. Also see EdWeek Market Brief, a service that gives companies operating in the market insights on the needs and priorities of school officials.



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