Bertelmann is to spend "in the mid-hundreds of millions" in US dollars on American e-learning provider Relias Learning, describing it as the company's "biggest purchase in the US since it took over Random House in 1998".
The buy, which will have to be approved by antitrust authorities, is expected to conclude before the end of the year.
Relias Learning was established in 2012, following the merger of Essential Learning and Silverchair Learning Systems, and offers online training for employees in several industries, including care for old people and for people with disabilities. The company has over 4,000 institutional clients and 2,500 different online courses. C.e.o. Jim Triandiflou will continue to manage the business following the acquisition.
Bertelsmann chairman and c.e.o. Thomas Rabe said the company fitted "ideally" with Bertelsmann's education strategy, "in which e-learning will play a major role", calling it "a fast-growing company with considerable potential internationally."
“The acquisition of Relias Learning is a major step on the way to making the education business a third mainstay of business for Bertelsmann alongside media and services," he said. "The education sector has a worldwide market volume of around five trillion US. dollars and is growing rapidly. Relias is a leading e-learning provider in the healthcare and compliance sectors, and profits from the three global megatrends of education, health and digitization.”
The buy follows Bertelsmann's acquisition last month of a stake in online education provider Udacity.