Silver Lake and Weld North Education Announce Strategic Partnership
Investment to Advance Weld North’s Mission to Provide the Most Innovative and Effective Digital Curriculum to Students, Teachers and Administrators Across America
NEW YORK, New York — Jan. 4, 2018 – Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing, announced today that it will acquire a majority stake in Weld North Education (WNE), a leading digital education technology company focused on developing digital curriculum and tools for preK-12th grade. Silver Lake’s investment will help WNE accelerate its long-term growth initiatives to serve the rapidly changing technology demands for educating preK-12 students. Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Weld North, will continue to lead the company, which is being sold by its prior majority owner, KKR. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2010 as a partnership between Grayer and KKR, Weld North Education seeks to redefine the capability of digital learning curricula to improve student outcomes. Beginning with its acquisition of e2020 in July 2011 (later renamed Edgenuity) and further advanced with the purchase of Imagine Learning, WNE has invested substantially into both SaaS platforms to adapt to every student’s evolving learning needs. Edgenuity’s vast K-12 online curriculum, supplemental material and instructional services are deployed at nine of the top 15 school districts in the U.S. Imagine Learning’s leading animation-driven language and literacy software improves how elementary students learn English in districts across the country.
Weld North LLC’s other platform companies, Performance Matters and The Learning House, are not included in the Silver Lake transaction.
“Since inception, our focus at Weld North, in partnership with KKR, has been to create an important preK-12 digital curriculum platform that would improve a teacher’s ability to educate and a student’s ability to learn. By adapting to the strengths and weaknesses of a student in real time, digital curricula can improve learning outcomes more quickly than print and legacy methods,” said Jonathan Grayer, CEO of Weld North.
“I’m enormously proud of what our team has accomplished so far. We are recognized as a market leader in both the number of schools that use our products – over 3,000 school districts – and in the way we have innovated to maximize the power of digital curricula,” Mr. Grayer added. “Our new relationship with Silver Lake represents the next important phase of our growth strategy as we partner with another world-class firm, one particularly well-known for its ability to help scale technology businesses. We are excited about what this can all mean for students, educators and parents.”
“Jonathan and his world-class management team have built an exciting platform at the vanguard of preK-12 digital learning, harnessing the power of technology to bring the highest quality education to America’s schools,” said Greg Mondre, Managing Partner of Silver Lake. “We look forward to working alongside Jonathan and his team, including supporting them with additional growth capital, as they execute on Weld North’s vision to build the market leader in preK-12 digital education.”
“KKR’s partnership with Jonathan Grayer and his team in building Weld North has been gratifying both in terms of financial results and societal impact,” said Richard Sarnoff, Head of KKR’s Media and Communications industry team. “Educating students remains mission critical for our country’s long-term vitality, and Weld North’s digital curriculum platform – unique for preK-12 – has delivered exceptional and sustainable value to students and educators in districts across the U.S. We are excited to see Silver Lake invest in the business for its next stage of growth, and wish the firm great success in its future work with Weld North Education.”
Macquarie Capital and Centerview Partners acted as the financial advisors to Weld North and KKR in the transaction, while Latham & Watkins LLP acted as the companies’ legal advisor. Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal advisor to Silver Lake in the transaction.
About Silver Lake
Silver Lake is the global leader in technology investing, with about $39 billion in combined assets under
management and committed capital and a team of approximately 100 investment and value creation
professionals located in Silicon Valley, New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Silver Lake’s portfolio of investments collectively generates more than $140 billion of revenue annually and employs more than 300,000 people globally. The firm’s current portfolio includes leading technology and technology enabled businesses such as Alibaba Group, Ancestry, Broadcom Limited, Cast & Crew, Ctrip, Dell Technologies, Endeavor, Fanatics, Global Blue, GoDaddy, Motorola Solutions, Red Ventures, Sabre, SoFi, SolarWinds and Symantec. For more information about Silver Lake and its entire portfolio, please visit www.silverlake.com.
About Weld North
Weld North operates a platform of digital and SaaS educational solution businesses and makes control investments in high potential businesses in the education industry. By attracting highly motivated and distinctly talented professionals, Weld North looks to accelerate growth through an obsessive focus on enhancing the customer experience, operational excellence, marketing expertise and disciplined financial management.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and, through its strategic manager partnerships, hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners’ capital and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
Patricia Graue / Alice Gibb
Kristi Huller / Cara Major