26 Jan Renaissance to buy computer companion maker AlphaSmart for $57m
Educational software maker Renaissance Learning, Inc., has agreed to acquire California-based AlphaSmart, Inc., a provider of portable learning devices for K-12 students, for $57 million.
Renaissance, based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, plans to maintain the AlphaSmart name and operate the company as a wholly owned subsidiary. AlphaSmart shareholders will receive $3.75 per share in the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter.
AlphaSmart, which brought its first product to market in 1993, has created several “computer companion” learning tools, the latest being Neo by AlphaSmart. Like the company’s AlphaSmart 3000 before it, the Neo functions as a lower-cost laptop alternative that helps students learn rather than get distracted by a PC’s operating system.
The portable Neo features a full-sized keyboard and a range of computing capability and also is designed to integrate with desktop and laptop computers. It also features an infrared port for printing and sending to other infrared-enabled devices.
“Together, we will be able to provide unique solutions to help educators develop student writing skills along with strengthening other Renaissance solutions where limited computer access is a bottleneck to daily program use,” said John Hickey, president and CEO of Renaissance Learning.
Because AlphaSmart’s products are primarily companions to existing school computers rather than exclusive alternatives, purchasing AlphaSmart tools with Renaissance software can help schools to maximize the use of their existing hardware, according to AlphaSmart CEO Ketan Kothari.
“Our solutions are highly complementary, and we expect that this merger will help grow the revenues of the combined companies and accelerate learning of writing and other subjects,” Kothari said.