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TheStreet Open House

Macmillan New Ventures Acquires Sapling Learning

NEW YORK, November 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Macmillan adds STEM interactive homework and learning solution to portfolio.

Macmillan New Ventures, a technology innovation division of Macmillan Publishers, Ltd., today announced the acquisition of Sapling Learning, a leading provider of interactive homework and learning software for the higher education and high school in the areas of science, economics and other STEM disciplines. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Macmillan will preserve Sapling Learning's headquarters in Austin, Texas and expand the existing team of 96 employees. Moving forward, Macmillan will provide Sapling support to scale operations, and investment to extend into new disciplines.

"Sapling Learning has developed a powerful learning solution based on instructional assessment and student progress monitoring that results in improved learning and retention," said Troy Williams, president of Macmillan New Ventures. "Macmillan New Ventures' mission is to find and accelerate proven technology solutions in education that are making a real difference in the core mission of the educational endeavor - helping students learn more and learn faster. Sapling has a product that demonstrably increases student achievement in contrast to a lot of what we see in edtech - companies with attractive features and software but no clear data that student outcomes are improving."

Over 800 schools and universities have adopted Sapling's online interactive homework and instruction system.  Sapling has experienced explosive growth, tripling sales last year, and is on target for similar growth this year. Part of the reason for Sapling's dramatic growth is the fact that a number of peer-reviewed studies have shown that students who use its interactive homework solution experience from one-half to more than a full letter grade in performance improvement.

"Macmillan New Ventures has been extremely supportive of our technology, vision and our team. We're proud to join Macmillan and be a part of continuing their tradition of delivering excellent learning experiences," said Dr. James W. Caras, Sapling Learning Founder and CEO. "The students have always come first and with Macmillan supporting our brand we can reach new students at a scale that wasn't possible before. For example, one of our core features is that we are textbook-agnostic; Macmillan New Ventures will continue to support and help us grow our efforts with other publishers, as they have with their other portfolio companies that also work with non-Macmillan content providers."

Sapling is the second acquisition by Macmillan New Ventures in the past six months, adding to a strong portfolio of proven, innovative education technology companies. In May, Macmillan New Ventures acquired EBI MAP-works, a leading student success and retention platform. Sapling also joins i>clicker, a leading student response system, and PrepU, an adaptive learning platform, in the Macmillan New Ventures portfolio.

Macmillan New Ventures' acquisitions are part of a broader investment in start-up business at Macmillan Publishers, Ltd., one of the largest and best-known international publishing groups in the world and part of the privately owned media group, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH. Under CEO Annette Thomas's direction, it's science, academic and education group has invested in three innovation divisions over the past two years: Digital Science, which specializes in providing software solutions for scientists; Digital Education, which invests into and builds consumer-focused educational services, and Macmillan New Ventures.

Macmillan's more established businesses - Macmillan Education, Palgrave, Nature Publishing Group and Macmillan Higher Education - have all built strong brands and an enviable track record for editorial excellence by taking a content-led, technology enabled approach. It is the fusion of the disruptive technology start-up businesses with the editorially rich established players that enables Macmillan to evolve its overall business and fuel quicker access to new markets and new opportunities.

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