GREENWICH, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Weld North Holdings LLC (Weld North), a firm investing in and operating companies in education, health and wellness, consumer services and marketing, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Learning House, Inc. (“Learning House”). Founded in 2001, Learning House is a leader in enabling not-for-profit colleges and universities to develop effective ways to deliver online degree programs. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Learning House has created a unique model, providing an end-to-end online campus solution including online course development and publishing, program marketing and enrollment management, infrastructure support, learning management system customization and hosting, faculty and staff training, 24/7 technology support, and consulting.
“We are thrilled to be investing in Learning House, a business we believe can quickly grow to become the market leader in the multi-billion dollar not-for-profit postsecondary online education services industry. There is a tremendous opportunity to provide valuable benefits to this underserved community,” said Weld North Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Grayer. Grayer is former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kaplan, Inc. and under his tenure, Kaplan started an online university that today is one of the largest online universities in the country with approximately 50,000 students.
“What’s so compelling about Learning House is the breadth of offerings it provides to educational institutions, especially to independent small and medium sized colleges and universities that may not have the infrastructure or resources to build a comprehensive online offering. We are confident that the market share winner in this currently fragmented industry will be the business that can offer institutions a full suite of services, from curriculum development, to faculty training, to marketing services aimed at attracting and retaining online students. This transaction, and the associated partnership with our team at Weld North, which has experience building significant businesses in the online education industry, offers Learning House the financial and intellectual capital necessary to build its client base and to extend its already robust set of solutions,” Grayer stated.
As evidence of the significant growth in the industry, Eduventures estimates that 2.78 million students enrolled in fully online programs in 2010 – 2011, or 13.5% of all students enrolled in postsecondary institutions.
The entire Learning House management team and staff will remain on board, including David T. Richardson, who joined the company in 2007 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Rounding out the team will be Todd Zipper, an Operating Executive at Weld North, who will serve as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President for Learning House. Prior to Weld North, Zipper co-founded and served as Chief Operating Officer of Education Connection, a marketing services technology company focused on the online education sector. Zipper will be instrumental in working closely with clients to grow online enrollments. The company will remain headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky where it plans to add over fifty new employees in the next twelve months.
Richardson stated, “Choosing the right approach to online education is no easy task. It’s not solely about the technology that enables a student to easily connect to the curriculum. That’s just one element. The right program is a fully integrated approach that accounts for the quality and integrity of the school, the engagement of the faculty, and control of the curriculum. Additionally, the right partner has the appropriate marketing and consulting resources that can help institutions build their student base and navigate complex issues such as accreditation. We believe that Learning House has the tools in place to help clients become leaders in online education and now with Weld North as a partner, we have access to a team with decades of experience managing numerous rapid growth companies in the education sector, and more specifically, businesses in the field of online education.”
Learning House is having its strongest year ever for new client growth. In the third quarter 2011, Learning House signed six new partner schools, with 22 in total added for the year. Learning House now partners with more than 90 colleges and universities in 30 states.
About The Learning House, Inc.
The Learning House, Inc. is a comprehensive online education solutions partner that helps colleges and universities develop effective and affordable ways to deliver online degree programs. Partnering with more than 90 colleges and universities in 30 states, Learning House has created a model that meets the needs of every school. For more information about Learning House, please visit www.LearningHouse.com.
About Weld North
Weld North is an investment company concentrating on education, health and wellness, consumer services and marketing businesses. In partnership with KKR, a leading global investment firm, Weld North seeks to make control investments in businesses with high potential for long-term growth in cash flow. With strong and highly motivated management teams, the firm looks to accelerate growth through an obsessive focus on enhancing the customer experience, operational excellence, marketing expertise, and strategic and disciplined management.