Plato Learning Buys Another Education Tech Firm

About four months after purchasing Educational Options, Inc., Plato Learning has announced plans to acquire another education technology company: Archipelago Learning.

Plato Learning, Inc., announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Dallas-based education software provider Archipelago Learning.

In a separate announcement, Archipelago said the deal was valued at about $291 million. Plato bought the company for $11.10 per share in cash-representing a 23 percent premium to the $9.04 Friday closing price, and an increase of about 17 percent from its average trading price during the past year.

Plato, a Bloomington-based company that provides online education tools for students, is owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, LLC. The company said that it made the acquisition to increase its educational solutions portfolio.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Archipelago was founded in 2000 and provides supplemental education tools for instruction, practice, and assessment for both students and educators in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“Archipelago Learning is a true innovator in online, supplemental instruction,” Plato CEO Vin Riera said in a statement. “This acquisition allows us to cover the entire spectrum of learning needs from pre-K through post secondary, as well as reach a broader group of students and educators with a product portfolio that sets a rigorous standard in online education.”

In November, Plato purchased another education software company, Educational Options, Inc. That deal came about a month after Plato lost a bidding war to purchase a different education company, Renaissance Learning, Inc. Despite the $496 million offer Plato made to acquire Wisconsin-based Renaissance, the company's shareholders accepted a lower offer of $455 million from Permira Funds, a European private equity firm.