2015 was the biggest year ever for mergers and acquisitions. According to Dealogic 4.7 Trillion in deals were made during the of the year, including 63 deals worth $10 Billion or more. While 2016 is just beginning, some deals this year are highlighted not by the acquisition cost, but instead the potential for future growth or the creation of new revenue streams. Recently, Apple Inc. acquired the educational analytics start up LearnSprout.  LearnSprout tracks patterns of performance in students and aggregates grades across the school to determine which students are falling behind and which subjects most students struggle with. Also, LearnSprout collects data regarding the health attendance, and the college or next-level-readiness of its students. According to LearnSprout’s website, its software is used in over 2500 schools in 42 different states. Apple Spokesman Colin Johnson confirmed the acquisition with a standard boilerplate statement that, “Apple buys smaller tech companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” While Apple declined to indicate the future of its new acquisition LearnSprout, it is more than likely an important step for the company’s goal to introduce more iPads into the classroom. Perhaps indicative, iOS 9.3 allows for a single iPad to be used by multiple students, and also introduced the Classroom app for teachers. Moreover, Apple is introducing a new web tool “Apple School Manager”, which appears to be an umbrella application for school administrators allowing them to facilitate the use of apple products by creating Apple Ids for students, creating courses, and also purchasing books and apps for students in bulk. The acquisition of LearnSprout, and the application of its technology and user base will allow Apple to possible create the first comprehensive school-wide technology application system. Thus, while on its face this acquisition appears to be nominal in value, it could be the first step in creating a brand new revenue stream for Apple’s future growth.

Robert McLeod

 

 

 

 

 

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