Thursday, October 29, 2015

Corporate: Bertelsmann Buys RediLearning; Harper Buys The Midlist; and More

Publishers Lunch

Bertelsmann subsidiary Relias Learning has acquired Florida-based e-learning company RediLearning. Terms of the deal, the first under the Bertelsmann Education Group umbrella, were not disclosed -- though a Reuters source puts it at a "medium double-digit million US dollar sum." The nine-year-old RediLearning provides online training in the field of senior care, primarily through 400 online courses. Bertelsmann ceo and chairman Thomas Rabe said in the announcement: "The acquisition of RediLearning fits perfectly into our education strategy. E-Learning is a strategic segment for Bertelsmann as we develop our education business. Relias is a core investment, and we will continue to develop it organically and through acquisitions. The RediLearning acquisition strengthens Relias' market position and lays the cornerstone for further growth."

HarperCollins has acquired The Midlist, a daily email newsletter featuring ebook deals, from Libboo, and plans to merge the newsletter into its existing Bookperk platform. In the meantime Libboo will continue to provide audience development services to Bookperk through its primary product, instaFreebie, which will become the company's focus. (InstaFreebie attracts new readers with free content and converts them into mailing list subscribers.)

"Folding The Midlist into Bookperk is the next logical step as we grow Bookperk into an industry-leading direct-to-consumer platform that connects our authors and our tremendous backlist to more than a million readers,” said HarperCollins cmo Angela Tribelli in the announcement. Midlist readers who convert into Book Perk app users get to download three free digital originals.

While The Midlist offered deals from multiple publishers, Harper is acquiring the product for its community of newsletter readers and Facebook fans. Going forward, those readers will be incorporated into the standing Bookperk platform, which offers Harper-only deals -- unlike, for sample, Penguin Random House's LitFlash lists, which include deals from other publishers (including HarperCollins authors such as Amitav Ghosh, whose Glass Palace was in Sunday's email).

Harper senior director of audience development and insight Jim Hanas comments to us, "To date, Bookperk has only offered titles from across the entire HarperCollins catalog -- from Harlequin to HCCP to Impulse e-originals, which we will continue to do-- but the platform is constantly evolving."

Cengage Learning has bought San Francisco-based company Pathbrite's e-portfolio solution, which allows students to collect, track and showcase their work to demonstrate completion of assignments for graduation, accreditation and job placement. Cengage Learning ceo Michael Hansen said in the announcement that this acquistion, in tandem with buying Learning Objects last month, "extends our student-centric, competency-based learning capabilities."

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