2U, a global leader in education technology, and edX, a leading online learning platform and education marketplace, have announced that they have agreed to join together to help power the digital transformation of higher education, expand access and affordability, and usher in a new era of online learning.
As per a press statement, 2U will acquire all of edX’s assets, including its brand, website, and marketplace, for $800 million in cash consideration, and the proceeds of the transaction will flow to a nonprofit led by Harvard and MIT that will focus on transforming educational outcomes, addressing learning inequities, and developing strategies and partnerships to help close the learning gap.
The joint release said the new entity will reach over 50 million learners globally, serve more than 230 partners, and offer over 3,500 digital programs on the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online education marketplace.
edX was founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012 with a vision to provide access to rigorous university courses to people everywhere to unlock their potential without the barriers of cost or location. It offers over 3,000 online programs, including a substantial majority of courses with a free/audit track, Master’s and doctorate degrees, professional certificates, and MicroBachelors programs and MicroMasters programs. edX has partnered with the majority of the top-ranked universities in the world and reached more than 39 million learners with over 120 million courses taken on its platform.
Commenting on the new development, Christopher “Chip” Paucek, Co-founder and CEO of 2U, said in a statement,
“2U and edX were founded on a shared vision that online education has the power to expand access, create opportunity, and transform lives. Along with university partners and contributing faculty, Anant Agarwal and the edX team have built an innovative, respected, and globally recognized destination for online higher education. By combining 2U and edX’s global reach and offerings from free to degree, together we believe we can fully realize our shared vision, meet the growing worldwide demand for online education, and deliver growth and long-term value to shareholders and other stakeholders.”
2U plans to operate edX as a public benefit entity, a class of purpose-driven organizations that balances the interests of shareholders with other stakeholders.
Anant Agarwal, Founder & CEO of edX and MIT Professor, said,
“As edX looks to its next phase of growth and impact, joining forces with 2U marks a major milestone in our evolution. 2U’s people, technology, and scale will expand edX’s ability to deliver on its mission of providing access to high-quality education to enable all learners to unlock their potential. Together with our university and institutional partners, we will continue to reimagine education in ways that transform the lives of global citizens and positively impact generations to come.”
With the acquisition, 2U’s network will expand to include more than 230 partners – including over 185 nonprofit colleges and universities and 19 of the top-ranked universities globally. The combined capabilities of 2U and edX are expected to provide university partners with new opportunities to accelerate online growth and innovation and deliver exceptional student outcomes across the career curriculum continuum. The acquisition will also expand 2U’s enterprise opportunity with edX for Business (an on-demand enterprise training solution with thousands of courses and programs on workplace-relevant topics) and edX Online campus (designed for universities, complementing on-campus education with a range of high-quality online courses).
2U is the digital transformation partner of choice for more than 80 of the world’s leading universities. It powers more than 500 educational offerings, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certificates, boot camps, and GetSmarter short courses. Together with its partners, the company has transformed the lives of more than 300,000 students and lifelong learners.
Meanwhile, the joint release said the transaction is expected to close within approximately 120 days, subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory and governmental approvals. edX worked with M. Klein and Company, acting as the financial advisor in this transaction.