Weld North Holdings, a partnership between former Kaplan Chief Jonathan Grayer and buyout shop Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., has closed its first deal: the acquisition of e-learning company e2020 Inc. Terms of the deal were not released. Sari Factor, managing director for education at Weld North, will become CEO of e2020, the firm said. The company, formed in 1998, provides online courses for K-12 students through a software-as-a-service model. The courses can be used for anything from advanced placement to so-called “credit recovery,” to help students who have fallen behind with course credits.
Weld North Holdings LLC (Weld North), a partnership between Jonathan Grayer, former CEO of Kaplan, Inc., and global investment firm KKR focused on investing in and operating companies in education, health and wellness, consumer services and marketing, today announced it has acquired e2020, Inc. (Education2020), a leading e-learning company serving middle and high schools across the U.S. Founded in 1998, e2020 is a pioneer in the e-learning industry, which has grown to serve more than 4 million K-12 students in 2010, up from 45,000 in 2000. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This is exactly the type of investment we envisioned when we formed Weld North,” said Jonathan Grayer, chairman and chief executive officer. “We look to invest in companies that are strong platforms for growth, that can be scaled rapidly, that have a technology backbone, and that serve important and growing markets. e2020 meets all of these criteria.”
Grayer continued, “With only 70% of students graduating from high school, too many of America’s schools are seriously struggling. Challenged by shrinking budgets, education leaders are seeking efficient and economical solutions to propel student achievement. Digital learning better meets the needs of today’s students and is the fastest growing segment of the education business today. e2020 has a strong position that we believe we can take to the next level. With our years of experience managing rapid growth in the education sector, we believe e2020 is truly poised to transform the learning experience in schools across the country.”
Sari Factor, managing director for education at Weld North, will become CEO of e2020. She worked with Grayer at Kaplan, where she was President of Kaplan’s K12 Learning Services division from 2008 – 2010. She has spent 30 years in education publishing, technology, and services, serving as President of Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and General Manager of Everyday Learning Corporation, among other leadership positions in the industry.
“Policymakers across the country are becoming increasingly concerned with education in the United States. Issues related to college preparedness, performance on international tests, the lack of qualified teachers in subject areas such as mathematics and science, and high dropout rates provide an opportunity for companies like e2020 to help lead the transformation to new ways of educating American students. e2020, which offers rigorous online curriculum through sophisticated technology, showcases what a school of the future can be – blending online and teacher-delivered instruction, offering personalized instruction, and enabling access anytime or anywhere,” said Factor.
e2020’s courses are provided through a software-as-a-service model. Their courseware features video-based instruction using highly qualified teachers aligned to standards and administrative tools to ensure high completion rates. e2020’s products are in use in 2,500 schools in 43 states, including nine of the 15 largest districts in the country. e2020’s system is easily customized and can be used for core instruction, credit recovery, intervention, and advanced placement. It is used as the core curriculum in several successful virtual and blended learning school models, including Carpe Diem.
For more information on e2020, please visit www.education2020.com
About Weld North
Weld North is an investment company concentrating on education, health and wellness, consumer services and marketing businesses. In partnership with KKR, a leading global investment firm, Weld North seeks to make control investments in businesses with high potential for long-term growth in cash flow. With strong and highly motivated management teams, the firm looks to accelerate growth through an obsessive focus on enhancing the customer experience, operational excellence, marketing expertise, and strategic and disciplined management.
Founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, KKR is a leading global investment firm with $61.0 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2011. With 14 offices around the world, KKR manages assets through a variety of investment funds and accounts covering multiple asset classes. KKR seeks to create value by bringing operational expertise to its portfolio companies and through active oversight and monitoring of its investments. KKR complements its investment expertise and strengthens interactions with investors through its client relationships and capital markets platforms. KKR is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: KKR).