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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Bellevue’s GlobalScholar sold for up to $160 million

Bellevue educational software company GlobalScholar is being acquired by a Texas company that provides online student testing and assessments.

Harland Clarke Holdings, which owns the Scantron education testing company, is paying $140 million in cash for GlobalScholar. It’s also offering another $20 million, contingent on GlobalScholar meeting financial goals in 2011. The companies are part of M&F Worldwide Corp.

“There is a growing sense of urgency to provide solutions that will help bring a new level of excellence to education systems. Scantron and GlobalScholar’s combined solutions will provide powerful tools for teachers, administrators and parents, in schools and districts of any size, as they work to improve the achievement levels for all students,” Bill Hansen, president of Scantron and former U.S. deputy secretary of education, said in the release.

GlobalScholar’s software for managing education – with digital gradebooks, analytics and tools for learning management and teacher development – is used by more than 1,000 school districts with a combined student population of more than 5 million.

The company employs 330 people in Bellevue and Chennai, India. That includes about 45 in Bellevue. No layoffs are expected and the company plans to expand in Bellevue next year, a spokeswoman said.

Kal Raman, GlobalScholar’s chief executive, was formerly a senior vice president at Amazon.com and chief executive of Drugstore.com. He’s staying with the company and will head the education group at GlobalScholar/Scantron.

Raman started Global cholar as InfiLearn in 2006, with backing from Ignition Partners, Michael Milken’s Knowledge Universe and Microsoft vice president Peter Neupert, who worked with Raman at Drugstore.com.

The company changed its name to GlobalScholar in 2007, raised more than $42 million and bulked up through the 2008 acquisition of Colorado-based Excelsior Software.

It’s the second exit this month for Ignition. The Bellevue-based venture firm also invested in Heroku, a San Francisco-based software tool company that Salesforce.com bought last week for $212 million.

Comments | More in | Topics: Education, education, Entrepreneurs

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