Renaissance Learning to Get New Private Equity Owner, Change CEOs

A California private equity firm that has previously bought and sold education software businesses has agreed to acquire Wisconsin Rapids, WI-based Renaissance Learning, the company said Thursday.

Renaissance is being sold by one San Francisco-based private equity firm (Hellman & Friedman) to another (Francisco Partners), Renaissance said. The company did not include any specific financial terms in a news release announcing the deal, which it said it expects will close by the end of June.

Renaissance claims its cloud-based educational software is used in more than 70 countries. The company’s software is used most widely by K-12 students.

In March, Renaissance acquired Bloomington, MN-based Myon, a developer of tools designed to improve and assess students’ reading abilities, for an undisclosed sum. Renaissance said this week that Chris Bauleke, who was previously CEO of Myon, will replace Daniel Hamburger as Renaissance’s chief executive. Hamburger will serve as an advisor to Renaissance, the company said.

Francisco Partners and Myon have some shared history; the private equity firm was Myon’s previous owner before it sold the company to Renaissance in March.

Launched in 1986, Renaissance has itself changed hands several times over the years. In 2011, the company was acquired by U.K.-based Permira Advisors for about $440 million in cash. In 2014, not long after Google Capital invested $40 million in Renaissance and took a minority stake in the company, Permira sold Renaissance to Hellman & Friedman for $1.1 billion. At the time, it was one of the largest education technology acquisitions ever.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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