Pearson Acquires EmbanetCompass

Expands capacity and extends leadership to meet fast-growing demand for online learning in higher education

October 16, 2012 – Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is announcing today the acquisition of EmbanetCompass from an investor group led by Technology Crossover Ventures and Knowledge Universe.

Will Ethridge, CEO of Pearson North America, said, “The acquisition of EmbanetCompass extends Pearson’s investment in two areas where we see great opportunities for growth and impact—online education and educational services. The combination of Pearson and EmbanetCompass creates the premier provider of online learning and education services and will further enable us to advance the goals of the institutions and students we serve with innovative and proven programs.”

EmbanetCompass is a leader in online services with strong growth, customer satisfaction and student retention. They develop customized technology platforms and services including marketing, recruitment, retention services, instructional design, and course development for non-profit colleges and universities. The company partners with such respected institutions as Vanderbilt University, University of Southern California (USC), Wake Forest University, Brandeis University, Case Western Reserve University, Boston University, The George Washington University, Pepperdine University, University of Florida and Northeastern University.

EmbanetCompass’ success inraising student satisfaction and retention ratesis based on a history of performance and innovation that provides academic partners with the stability and agility required to meet the growing global demand for online learning.

As college and universities continue to seek cost-effective and academically sound ways to extend their reach and improve student results, Pearson believes the number of students learning online will grow as will the number of institutions that will seek online services partners.

Currently, 2.5 million postsecondary students in the US participate in purely online programs and over 6 million take at least one online course. With more than 22 million students enrolled in postsecondary institutions, Eduventures, the research firm, projects more than 11% annual online enrollment growth from 2010-2015.

The EmbanetCompass acquisition builds on and broadens Pearson’s services capabilities and leadership in global higher education. Working in partnership with institutions such as Arizona State University, California State University Online (CSU Online), Ocean County College (New Jersey), and the community college systems in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa and Colorado, Pearson is forging a new path as an innovator in online learning and comprehensive support services to higher education.

Founded in 1995,with locations in Chicago, Orlando, and Toronto, EmbanetCompass has 580 employees and is headed by Steve Fireng. He will stay on as CEO of EmbanetCompass and as a senior executive at Pearson.

“In the next five years, we expect nearly 4 million fully online learners will be in this market,” said Steve Fireng, EmbanetCompass President and CEO. “By joining Pearson, the world’s premier provider of educational content, programs, services and platforms, EmbanetCompass has a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our relationships with academic partners, expand programs and services at our current academic partners, and continue to expand into new exciting markets both domestically and around the globe.”

The transaction is subject to a Hart-Scott-Rodino review.

For more information
Luke Swanson / Simon Mays-Smith / Charles Goldsmith +44 (0)207 010 2310
Wendy Spiegel/Susan Aspey 800 745 8489

About Pearson
Pearson is the world’s leading learning company. Its major businesses are: Pearson, the global leader in education, providing print and digital learning materials and services used by millions of students of all ages every year; The Financial Times Group, which has an international network of business and financial newspapers and online services that are read by millions of business executives and investors every day; and Penguin Group, which is one of the pre-eminent names in consumer publishing, with an unrivalled range of fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers, and classic titles. Through its books, newspapers and online products and services, Pearson helps people of all ages to live and learn. See

About EmbanetCompass
EmbanetCompass is the largest provider of technology-enabled services to traditional non-profit postsecondary educational institutions seeking to launch online degree programs across degree levels and disciplines. Its comprehensive outsourced solution includes all of the services necessary to develop an online program, including program strategy, design and development, academic services, marketing and student recruitment, program and student services, and technology services. Academic partners retain complete control over admissions decisions, instruction and financial aid, and confer all degrees. EmbanetCompass’s top priority in partnering with an institution is to offer the highest quality services to protect and enhance the academic partner’s brand and reputation. See