Laurene Powell Jobs Among Buyers of News Corp's Digital Education Business

Laurene Powell Jobs - H 2015
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Laurene Powell Jobs - H 2015

News Corp announced the sale of Amplify, which made educational tablets for schools, in October.

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was the lead investor who helped fund the buyout of technology business Amplify from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp earlier this year, according to a report in Reuters

A representative for Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective investment fund told Reuters that, much like Amplify, it believes technology and innovation can transform classrooms. 

News Corp announced at the end of September that it had sold the money-losing business, which produced educational tablets, to a management team backed by private investors. The news came after News Corp took a $371 million write-down on Amplify, ceased production of the tablet and laid off more than 500 employees.  

Murdoch made the push into the education space with the 2010 purchase of assessment software company Wireless Generation for $390 million. News Corp later hired former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein to run the renamed business as CEO. Amplify introduced an online curriculum, testing services and tablet devices for grade schoolers but struggled to gain traction in schools, and those schools that did purchase the devices were often plagued by glitches with the technology. 

Klein continues to have a board seat and president Larry Berger, who also owns a stake in the company, has been appointed the new chief. 

Powell Jobs, through Emerson Collective, is focused on making investments in the education, immigration and innovation spaces. She is among the backers of Charles King's multicultural media company MACRO. 

A representative for Emerson Collective did not immediately respond to a request for comment.