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Murdoch buys education tech provider, 3 million-student audience

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Wireless Generation, a US education technology company, will become a subsidiary of News Corporation for about $360 million in cash as Rupert Murdoch seeks to expand his company into academia.

The company provides technology solutions for an audience of over 3 million students nation-wide.

On Monday, News Corporation, the parent company of the Fox News Channel, announced it signed an agreement to buy 90 percent of Wireless Generation. The remaining shares will be retained by general manager Larry Berger, who will remain in his post.

“We see a $500 billion [education] sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching,” Murdoch said in a statement.

“Wireless Generation is at the forefront of individualized, technology-based learning that is poised to revolutionize public education for a new generation of students.”

The Brooklyn based company develops web-based software that allows teachers to track students academic progress and develop curriculum based on students’ individual needs.

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Wireless Generation was founded in 2000 and has 400 employees.

“We’re delighted to be joining a company that has a long history of growing entrepreneurial, innovative businesses,” Berger said.

“Rupert believes in the power of digital platforms to reach more people with better information, more swiftly than ever and he understands the transformative effect technology can bring to the process of learning.”

At the Media Institute Awards Dinner on October 6, Murdoch dubbed public schools “failure factories” and called for an overhaul of the US education system.

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“The failure rates of our public schools represent a tragic waste of human capital that is making America less competitive,” Murdoch said. “Upward mobility in America is in jeopardy unless we fix our public schools.”

On November 9, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein was hired to be a senior adviser to Murdoch. Klein said his job was to “put them in the burgeoning and dynamic education marketplace.”

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