CloserStill acquires majority stake in Masie Productions’ “Learning Conference”

CloserStillCloserStill Media, the London-based exhibition and conference organiser, has entered a joint venture with Masie Productions to produce future editions of the Learning Conference in Orlando. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Learning Conference draws around 2,000 delegates from the technology and corporate learning sectors each year and more than 40 commercial sponsors in the learning and technology field. In 2017, former First Lady Michelle Obama and actor John Lithgow were keynote speakers and Leslie Odom Jr., author of “Failing Up”, and star of Broadway hit musical Hamilton and author Dan Pink will head the international speaker faculty of ‘Learning 2018’ in November.

Elliott Masie is among the most well-known figures in the global eLearning industry. He is founder of the Masie Center, an international learning lab, and chair of The Learning Consortium, a 20 year old collaboration of Fortune 500 companies. Under the new partnership with CloserStill, Masie will continue to lead the programme curation and act as host for the Learning Conference for the new JV company – CSM Learning, LLC.

A new focus on disruptive technologies will form part of Learning 2018, with the introduction of Tech @Learning – a multi-strand content programme focussing on adaptive learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning, emerging assessment technologies, chatbots, immersive realities, edTech and venture innovations.

CloserStill’s Learning Group Director, Mark Penton, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to be working with Elliott and his team. Elliott is an innovator and a disruptor and we feel that our combined global experience in the learning world will make for a very exciting new era for the Learning Conference which we have long admired and respected”.

UK, London & USA, Saratoga Springs, NY

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Apple acquires music recognition app Shazam

AppleApple has acquired the music recognition app Shazam, expanding its existing music offerings. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1999, Shazam is an app that captures a clip of music that is playing. The clip is matched with a large database to return a matching result which can then be downloaded, currently from Spotify but in the future users could be directed to Apple Music instead. With a reported over one billion downloads to date, Shazam also has visual recognition capabilities which let users identify any TV show, film or advert by listening to an audio clip or a visual fragment.

Apple released a statement saying “Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users.”

USA, San Francisco & Cupertino, CA

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Zeta Global acquires Disqus

Zeta GlobalThe data-driven marketing technology innovator Zeta Global has acquired the audience engagement platform Disqus. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Disqus powers an open and independent web of 4 million publishers including The Atlantic, Destructoid, Spoiler TV and TMZ. Since 2007, Disqus has focused on helping independent publishers build audiences through its audience development platform by giving publishers tools to interact with readers.

Combined with Zeta’s leading marketing platform, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the acquisition makes Zeta the only company able to offer personalised real-time marketing at scale on the open web.

David A. Steinberg, Zeta Global CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder, said, “We’re redefining the marketing technology space with actionable data, artificial intelligence that answers business problems and a marketing hub that serves as the nerve centre for data-driven marketers. Disqus extends and enhances this strategy. Marketers typically have to make tradeoffs between reaching engaged audiences on social platforms with massive reach and using tools that give them control and access to granular targeting capabilities. Disqus strengthens Zeta’s ability to offer the best of both worlds with the scale, visibility and performance marketers have been asking for.”

USA, New York, NY & San Francisco, CA

McGraw-Hill Education acquire ALEKS Corporation,

McgrawhilleducationMcGraw-Hill Education is to acquire ALEKS Corporation, the privately held developer of the ALEKS® adaptive learning technology for the K-12 and higher education markets. The acquisition is McGraw-Hill Education’s first since it was acquired by funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, in March 2013. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur early in the third quarter of 2013.

aleksALEKS uses research-based, artificial intelligence to rapidly and precisely determine each student’s knowledge state, pinpointing exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know. ALEKS then instructs students on the topics they’re most ready to learn, constantly updating each student’s knowledge state and adapting to the student’s individualized learning needs. McGraw-Hill Education has marketed and sold ALEKS for math in the higher education space for more than 10 years.

In January 2013, McGraw-Hill Education acquired an equity stake in Area9 Aps, the Denmark-based adaptive learning company. McGraw-Hill Education and Area9 have worked together to develop products such as the LearnSmart Advantage adaptive learning suite, which includes SmartBook, the world’s first-ever adaptive e-book.

“At McGraw-Hill Education, our number one focus is providing solutions that generate improved results for students, educators, and institutions, and we believe that delivering personalized experiences through adaptive technology is a key ingredient to teaching and learning success,” said Buzz Waterhouse, president and chief executive officer of McGraw-Hill Education. “Through our acquisition of ALEKS, we’re working to grow and further develop the type of engaging, personalized experiences that we see as a central element in the future of education.”

McGraw-Hill Education will continue to sell ALEKS as a standalone solution over the near term, but the company plans deeper integration between ALEKS and its content and digital platforms.  As part of the acquisition, McGraw-Hill Education will maintain ALEKS Corporation’s current offices in Irvine, Calif.

USA, New York, NY & Irvine, CA

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