Terry Crane leaves CompassLearning, joins AOL

Long-time educator and business leader Therese “Terry” Crane, Ed.D., has resigned her position as president of CompassLearning, formerly Jostens Learning Corp., to become vice president of education products for America Online.

In her new position, Dr. Crane will be responsible for developing online educational products and partnerships with AOL’s content providers. She will work out of AOL’s headquarters in Dulles, Virginia.

Prior to joining CompassLearning in January 1997, Dr. Crane led Apple Computer’s highly successful, multibillion-dollar education division. She began her career in the classroom, serving the Richardson (Texas) Independent School District as first an elementary school teacher and, later, intermediate principal.

In 1998, Dr. Crane co-chaired the national CEO Forum for Education and Technology. She also served on the California Task Force for Technology and was past chairman of the National School Boards Foundation.

CompassLearning is part of WRC Media, a leading publisher of supplemental education materials. WRC Media is the educational division of Ripplewood Holdings, LLC, a New York-based private equity investment firm which acquired Jostens Learning in July 1999.

Martin E. Kenney, CEO of CompassLearning, will assume the dual role of president and CEO for the company.

Scholastic to purchase Grolier for $400 million

Global children’s publishing and media giant Scholastic Inc. has announced an agreement with Lagardère S.C.A. of France to acquire Grolier Inc. for $400 million in cash.

Grolier, with 1999 revenues of approximately $450 million, is a leading seller of print and online children’s reference products, primarily to school libraries. The company also publishes trade books under the Orchard Books, Children’s Press, and Franklin Watts imprints.

“The strategic growth opportunity provided by this acquisition will simultaneously enhance Scholastic’s presence in home book clubs, school libraries, and in Asia, while giving us a large new customer base for our developing internet products and services,” said Richard Robinson, Scholastic’s chairman, president, and CEO.

The acquisition of Grolier is expected to increase Scholastic’s income by about 30 percent, he added. Upon closing, the combined operations would represent a $1.8 billion business, of which children’s book publishing would be $1.5 billion.

Grolier’s $80 million library business will provide a greater presence in the market for Scholastic, enabling the company to sell a wide variety of materials to libraries more effectively and to increase the profitability of the company’s educational publishing business, Robinson said.

“In addition to providing another major sales channel for our children’s book distribution business, Grolier will … strengthen our position in U.S. school and public libraries—a growing $5.5 billion market where Grolier has a strong print and online presence, including leading encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Americana, The New Book of Knowledge, and Spanish language encyclopedias,” he said.

Scholastic expects the acquisition to be neutral to its earnings in the 2001 fiscal year, which begins June 1, 2000; accretive to earnings by approximately $0.15 to $0.20 per share in FY 2002; and increasingly accretive thereafter.

The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close by early June 2000.

Headquartered in New York City, Scholastic creates and distributes educational materials for use in schools, such as children’s books, textbooks, magazines, technology, and teacher materials. The company’s Scholastic.com is a leading internet education destination for K-8 teachers and students, attracting more than l.5 million unique visitors a month.

Intel reports shipment of defective motherboards

Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, said on May 10 that it shipped nearly 1 million computer circuit boards that could contain a defect that destroys important files.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company sells a variety of parts that go into a computer, including the motherboard, the primary component on which the processors, main memory, and support circuitry rest.

Some motherboards shipped since November have a defective “memory translator hub” that experiences problems in moving signals between a cheaper form of random access memory called SDRAM and the 820 Intel processor, said spokesman Michael Sullivan.

Electrical problems “can cause some systems to intermittently reset, reboot, and/or hang,” Intel said in a statement, and “can, under extreme conditions, potentially cause data corruption.” Intel said it would replace the affected motherboards.

The motherboards were shipped to a variety of computer manufacturers, including major customers such as Dell Computer Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. The 820 chipset and potentially defective memory translator components also were sold to companies that build their own brand of motherboard components, making it difficult to assess the extent or source of the problem, Sullivan said.

The company urged consumers who bought computers since November to contact their manufacturer if they’ve experienced problems or to go to Intel’s web site, www.intel.com, to determine if the component that may need replacing is present in their system.

Individual motherboards cost slightly more than $100, and Intel warned the problem could have “a material effect” on profits, depending on the replacement rate.

The news of the defect came on the same day that Intel released design details of its upcoming Itanium processor on the internet—the first time the company has done so.

Intel hopes to use the Itanium chip, due out later this year, to break into the lucrative market for high-powered servers and workstations serving increasingly popular corporate networks that look to navigate web sites with speed and perform other high-powered functions.

Chancery acquires Misty City Software

Chancery Software Ltd., a leading publisher of student information systems for schools, has acquired gradebook software publisher Misty City Software Inc. of Kirkland, Wash.

More than 250,000 teachers who use Misty City’s Grade Machine will receive Chancery’s K12Planet.com home and school community portal, according to the company. The move expands Chancery’s customer base to nearly 600,000 educators worldwide, who manage information on more than 10 million students using Misty City’s gradebooks and Chancery’s student information systems, Chancery said.

“Adding Misty City’s customers to our rapidly growing installed base expands our reach to nearly 20 percent of the North American K-12 student market,” said Rick Moignard, Chancery’s president and chief executive officer.

The Misty City acquisition is the first in a series of strategic business moves by Chancery, which on March 31 announced it had secured $32.7 million in financing to continue the development of its K12Planet system. Introduced to select schools in late 1999, the product was shipped on April 30 to nearly 7,500 schools.

Misty City Software was founded in 1986 by Wendell Brown, a high school physics and computer programming teacher. All Misty City employees have been retained, and Wendell Brown remains as president of Misty City Software, which will operate as a division of Chancery Software.

Misty City’s products include Grade Machine software for grading and classroom management, and Grade View, a powerful tool that gives administrators a quick, detailed, school-wide picture of any student’s performance.

The acquisition is a natural evolution of Chancery’s long-standing publishing partnership with Misty City, the company said. Starting in April 1997, Chancery began licensing and distributing Grade Machine as eClass Grades. The eClass suite of teacher tools is part of Chancery’s Mac School, Win School, and Open District student information systems.

Founded in 1983, Chancery Software is headquartered in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia.