News Corp. (NWSA )  has agreed to acquire 90% of Brooklyn-based education technology company Wireless Generation for a total consideration of $360 million in cash. The remaining 10% will be segregated between founder and CEO Larry Berger, President and COO Josh Reibel, and Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Laurence Holt who will continue to run the company.
A privately held company, Wireless Generation came into being in 2000. The company provides mobile and web software, data systems and professional services that facilitate students to individually assess data and instruction from teachers. Employed with 400 workers, the company serves teachers and students across 50 states.
The deal will provide News Corp. a new platform for growth in the education sector, thereby delivering better information and learning. The education sector has not yet been transformed by digital technology, like the media business, with ample scope for cross influences making the process of learning better.
The current acquisition puts News Corp. in competition with established education companies like Pearson plc (PSO), the owner of the Financial Times, and The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. (MHP).
After advertising revenue was hit hard by the recent economic downturn, News Corp. was striving to add diverse revenue streams to hedge against economic cycles. The company has adopted an online subscription-based model for general news content. News International, a subsidiary of News Corp., began charging readers for online content of The Times of London and Sunday Times of London effective June 2010.
Moreover, the retransmission and affiliate fees from cable and satellite partners for the right to retransmit broadcast programming have been another source of revenue, which the company thinks would scale new heights in the next couple of years.
Currently, we have a Neutral rating on News Corp. Moreover, the Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating, correlates with our long-term recommendation.


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