Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is Making Big Moves in the Education Business
Joel Klein, head of News Corp.‘s (NASDAQ:NWSA) new education division, has plans to make new acquisitions in the next few months, though he hasn’t specified any companies or even sectors of interest. However, he has ruled out the acquisition of a traditional publisher.
Last year, News Corp. acquired 90% of Wireless Generation, a U.S. education software company, in a $360 million deal. News Corp.’s education division is in competition with groups like Pearson (NYSE:PSO) and McGraw-Hill (NYSE:MHP), both of which are expanding into digital markets but still retain their textbook publishing houses.
While Klein hasn’t named any companies he’s interested in, he certainly has ruled out a fair few. Other than dismissing the idea of acquiring a publisher like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt or Cengage because he’s more “forward-thinking”, he has also ruled out a bid for Blackboard (NASDAQ:BBBB), an education software and systems provider currently looking for a buyer.
He has cited different educational models from which he has drawn ideas — models that incorporate technology and video into teaching strategies. One example is Carpe Diem, a charter school that uses on-site coaches and computer-assisted instruction. Another is the Khan Academy, which creates educational videos available free on YouTube.
Klein has said that News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) will incorporate other aspects of its media assets into its education model, like teaching children about plate tectonics using 20th Century Fox‘s Ice Age films or news coverage of the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.