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School Specialty Acquires Canadian Company

GREENVILLE, Wis. (AP) ¿ School Specialty Inc. said Thursday is has acquired a Canadian company that provides educators with reading and math aids for struggling students.

Greenville Wis.-based School Specialty, which makes pre-kindergarten learning products, said it acquired Ottawa-based AutoSkill International Inc. for $11.7 million.

The acquisition expands School Specialty's educational technology offerings, and builds upon the company's market position in kindergarten through 12th grade reading and math intervention, with an emphasis on third through ninth grades, the company said in a statement.

With annual revenue of $10 million, AutoSkill will become part of School Specialty's educational publishing segment.

AutoSkill is best known for its "Academy of Reading" and "Academy of Math" software, which help educators develop intervention strategies to build student fluency in reading and math.

School Specialty also said it has signed an agreement to sell its retail trade book business, School Specialty Publishing, to Carson-Dellosa Publishing LLC, a newly formed business.

The sale follows School Specialty's previously announced decision to explore strategic alternatives for its retail trade book business, which primarily markets educational products such as basic skill publications and test preparation materials to parents through mass market retailers and major bookstore chains.

The company will combine School Specialty Publishing with its Cookie Jar Education business into the newly formed company, School Specialty will hold a 35 percent minority interest in the new business.

Shares rose 74 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $23.13 in afternoon trading.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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