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eLearning Update: Pearson Acquires Connections Education

Textbook publisher Pearson announced today that it has acquired Connections Education, which operates virtual schools or academies in 21 states and serves roughly 40,000 students.

Connections Education has experienced 30 percent revenue growth for each of the past three years and is expected to turn a $190 million profit in 2011. "For a decade or more, we've invested in education technologies that have the potential to make learning more effective for each child. Connections Education does that," said Marjorie Scardino, the chief executive officer of Pearson, in a press release. "Virtual schooling is an attractive choice for a growing group of American parents and in the next decade it will take off in other countries. Beyond that, Connections Education has developed a broad array of highly effective learning tools that we intend to make available to all kinds of schools and all kinds of students."

Barbara Dreyer, a co-founder and the chief executive officer of the Baltimore-based Connections Education, said in a press release that pairing up with Pearson would help Connections expand its global reach. Dreyer will remain the CEO of Connections Education, as well as a senior executive at Pearson.

This acquisition is the latest in a long string of mergers and acquisitions within the ed-tech business community, and it marks the first time that one of the "big three" textbook publishers (Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, and McGraw-Hill) has stepped so deeply into the virtual education world.

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