Hellman & Friedman pays $1.1 billion for Renaissance Learning

SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:00am EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is acquiring education company Renaissance Learning for $1.1 billion cash from fellow private-equity firm Permira, Renaissance said.

Renaissance, founded in 1984 in Wisconsin, provides assessment methods such as electronic tests that adapt questions in real time depending on how successfully the student is answering.

Geared toward education from kindergarten through high school, Renaissance also provides an outline of skills students should master with digital teaching tools to help them.

Renaissance is benefiting from a renewed sense of urgency by schools to ramp up their technology investments as they race to implement the Common Core Standards, the national math and language criteria set to go into effect next year.

Last month, Google's late-stage investment arm, Google Capital, announced a $40 million investment in Renaissance. The investment valued Renaissance at $1 billion.

Google has a longstanding interest in education, including building learning apps as part of its Google Play for Education initiative.

The investment by H&F includes the Google Capital stake, but the companies are discussing a potential investment by Google in the H&F-owned entity. The companies are also discussing continued collaboration between Google Play and Renaissance.

H&F will take on new debt to complete financing of the deal.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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