Cambium Learning Group to Acquire Assessment Division of Nonprofit AIR

Mergers and Acquisitions

Cambium Learning Group to Acquire Assessment Division of Nonprofit AIR

Aug 22, 2019

Cambium Learning Group, a Dallas-based education services conglomerate, has reached an agreement to purchase the K-12 assessment division of American Institutes for Research—or AIR—a Washington, D.C.-based behavioral and social science research nonprofit. Terms were not disclosed and the parties still must go through regulatory review before closing the deal.

Founded in 2007, the assessment division of AIR has grown to deliver about 60 million online tests in over 20 states, according to a statement Thursday. AIR was founded in 1946 and will use money from the sale to expand its research and technical assistance work in domestic and international education, health and workforce development.

Cambium CEO John Campbell says his company secured the acquisition opportunity after a months-long competitive process. If it is confirmed, AIR Assessments will exist as a new business line within Cambium—albeit one with possibly new branding—but its assessments products will help improve similar ones within the company’s other divisions.

“We have strengths in content creation and marketing and selling,” Campbell says. “Now we’ll have an expertise in assessment.”

He says AIR Assessments’ 600 employee count will stay “relatively the same” following the acquisition. And Cambium still has money for at least one more acquisition—areas of interest to Campbell include coding, social-emotional learning and special education.

Founded in 2009, Cambium is the umbrella company for Learning A-Z, VKidz Learning, Kurzweil Education, Voyager Sopris and ExploreLearning. Private equity firm Veritas Capital bought Cambium in October and took the company private for about $900 million.

Most of Cambium’s portfolio focuses on curriculum and related offerings. Learning A-Z produces online teaching materials in K-6 reading, writing and science. VKidz provides curriculum and supplementary programs to homeschool families and elementary schools, claiming over 3,500 multimedia lessons and games. Kurzweil provides assistive technology services for K-12, higher education and adult learning and includes services for people with dyslexia and text-to-speech tools.

Voyager Sopris provides preK-12 professional development, math and literacy support tools. And ExploreLearning supplies math and science development tools, including over 400 math and science simulations for grades 3-12.

According to financial filings for 2016, the latest year available, AIR reported $458.84 million in revenue, 99 percent of which came from contributions and grants. The nonprofit spent $420 million that year, of which 48 percent went toward salaries, benefits and compensation.

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