News Corp. to Buy Education Technology Firm for $360 Million

Wireless Generation may be only first deal in the space after recent hire of Joel Klein.

NEW YORK -- News Corp. said late Monday that it has agreed to acquire 90% of Wireless Generation, a privately held Brooklyn-based education technology firm, for about $360 million in cash.

The company provides mobile and web software and services that enable teachers to use data to assess student progress and deliver individualized instruction.

The deal comes after News Corp. recently hired Joel Klein, who previously was New York City schools chancellor, as an executive vp and board member with a focus on educational business opportunities.

Klein starts at News Corp. in January in a sign that his hire was indeed driven by News Corp.'s interest in becoming a player in the growing education field, and Monday's deal may only be the first step.

Serving more than 200,000 teachers and 3 million students across all 50 states, Wireless Generation is a key partner to New York City's Department of Education.

The company will continue to be managed by founder and CEO Larry Berger, president and COO Josh Reibel and executive vp and chief product officer Laurence Holt. They will collectively retain a 10% stake.

"When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching," News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said.