Information and database provider ProQuest Co. has acquired bigchalk, a provider of digital learning resources for K-12 schools, the company announced Jan. 24.

ProQuest, which held a 30-percent stake in bigchalk prior to the acquisition, now will own the company outright. It’s a move some analysts say has the potential to strengthen the services bigchalk already offers to schools, while at the same time establishing ProQuest as a major player in the K-12 market.

Emily Trask, analyst and senior editor for market research firm Eduventures Inc, said the acquisition likely would enable the company to strengthen bigchalk’s entire suite of school resources—including such popular titles as bigchalk Library, eLibrary, bigchalk Integrated Classroom, and Classmate—by giving the products unfettered access to ProQuest’s extensive database system.

For ProQuest, Trask said the deal provides a long sought-after opportunity to push its services into K-12 schools. Before the acquisition, ProQuest’s presence in education was felt mainly in public libraries, she said.

“We are excited about the combination of bigchalk and ProQuest electronic resources for our customers,” said Alan Aldworth, ProQuest’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “This acquisition provides opportunities to expand distribution of existing products from both companies into their various markets. With the acquisition of bigchalk, ProQuest becomes a leader in the growing K-12 marketplace.”

As far as bigchalk’s existing school customers are concerned, ProQuest said it has no immediate plans to alter any of the services offered by bigchalk to schools. “The transaction will be fairly transparent to the end user,” said Eduventures senior analyst Jim McVety.