Bertelsmann is to invest "approximately $230m" (£151m) in online education platform HotChalk, which serves students and universities in the US.
The media company will become HotChalk's largest stockholder.
California-based HotChalk, founded in 2004, helps universities run online degree programmes, providing interactive course design, content development tools and data analytics. It currently partners with seven non-profit universities on online masters and doctoral programmes.
Bertelsmann c.e.o. Thomas Rabe said the investment was "another important step in the expansion of our eucational activities", saying online services for higher education were "one of our strategic segments".
Bertelsmann is focusing its education activities on online education in the healthcare and technology sectors, with a strategy to make education the third mainstay of its business, alongside media and services, with revenue of around €1bn. It has made a number of recent investments and acquisitions, including RediLearning and Alliant International University, and this autumn created a new business unit, Bertelsmann Education Group.