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Summary:

Rupert Murdoch is getting serious about the education business. First, News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) hires New York City Education Chancellor Joel K…

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch
photo: AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File

Rupert Murdoch is getting serious about the education business. First, News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) hires New York City Education Chancellor Joel Klein. Now, it’s acquiring 90 percent of Wireless Generation for roughly $360 million in cash. The Brooklyn-based company provides education technology for teachers.

The company will operate as an independent subsidiary managed by Larry Berger, the founder and CEO; Josh Reibel, president and COO; and Laurence Holt, EVP & Chief Product Officer; the three will retain the remaining 10 percent. Founded in 2000, Wireless Generation has 400 employees and says it serves more than 200,000 teachers and 3 million students in all 50 states.

Why is News Corp buying it? Murdoch says it’s because education in the U.S. is a $500 billion sector “waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching” and Wireless Generation is at the “forefront” of individualized, tech-based learning.

Maybe Klein, who was hired to advise on “developing business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace,” among other topics, can articulate a little better about why News Corp has decided at this stage to make a bet on education — and how it means to go about it. Wireless Generation includes the New York City school system as a client. In addition to reporting to Murdoch as EVP, Office of the Chairman, Klein’s also joining the News Corp. board.

If this is like other Murdoch endeavors to break into a space, we’re due for more announcements. Perhaps he could combine the passions for digital text and education by buying textbook e-reader startup Kno.

  1. Rupert moving fast to keep Chancellor Kelin busy….Scholastic next?

  2. Ranjeet Guptara Friday, November 26, 2010

    Interesting Private Sector play to buy into the public sector education industry quasi-monopoly.
    This purchase of Wireless Generation indicates increasingly attractive valuations for those like Teachable.net who are considering internationalising from their traditionally uk focussed curriculum.

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