Discovery Makes First International Education Acquisition with U.K.'s Espresso Group

Discovery Communications has made its first international education acquisition, purchasing Espresso Group Limited, the leading provider of primary school digital education content in the U.K.

Under the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Discovery Education, the top Stateside provider of standards-based digital content to K-12 classrooms, will oversee Espresso Education.

James Rosenstock, who was recently appointed president, Discovery Education International based in London, where he will oversee Discovery Education’s international growth strategy, is now responsible for the Espresso Education business, for which he led the exploration and acquisition. In addition to his leadership role at Discovery Education International, Rosenstock will continue to serve as executive vice president of global corporate development, shepherding global mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy for Discovery Communications overall.

Grant Dawe LLP served as legal advisors to Discovery Communications on the acquisition.  Quayle Munro served as investment banking advisors, and Bird & Bird LLP served as legal advisors to Espresso Education.

The purchase of Espresso Education represents Discovery Communications’ initial international education-focused acquisition foray and highlights the programmer's commitment to providing educators worldwide with quality digital resources, professional development and networking tools to help them accelerate student achievement.

In the 16 years since its founding, Espresso Education, which counts Beringea, ITN and Channel 4 as investors, has become a leader in e-learning, transforming the way students learn through a blend of visual media and interactive resources throughout the U.K. market. It is available in almost 11,500 schools, serving nearly half of the primary schools with its Epresso Primary service, as well as through its Clipbank and Channel 4 Learning brands.

“For more than 10 years, Discovery Education has focused on transforming teaching and learning with the highest quality, standards-based digital content, unparalleled teacher training and the largest professional networking and learning community,” said Bill Goodwyn, CEO of Discovery Education and Strategic Distribution for Discovery Communications, in announcing the deal, and to whom Rosenstock reports.  “Espresso Education’s commitment to high standards for content is well matched with Discovery Education’s mission, making this the perfect acquisition as we scale our efforts to positively impact student achievement around the world.”

Noted Rosenstock: “The Espresso management team has built a strong education product in the U.K., and this acquisition brings together the most trusted brands in the U.S. and the U.K. in digital education, allowing us to offer schools, teachers and students the most powerful, compelling services to help accelerate student learning.”

In his position as executive vice president of corporate development, Rosenstock has played a key role in the expansion of Discovery’s international operations, including the largest transaction in the company's history with SBS Nordics, a top-three portfolio of television brands across Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland; the investment of a 20% stake in TF1’s Eurosport, the sports channel cutting across Europe and Asia-Pacific; Switchover Media in Italy and its portfolio of four free-to-air channels and one pay-TV channel; and the acquisition of Takhayal Entertainment and its affiliated companies in Dubai and Egypt, including its flagship TV network, Fatafeat, the top food channel in the Middle East.

Rosenstock also was involved with Discovery’s acquisitions of BBC's 50% interest in Animal Planet International; the formation of several pay channel ventures including OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, children's service The Hub children’s network, and 3net, the 3D channel with Sony and IMAX; and the company’s strategic investment in Lumosity, the leader in online brain training.

"Jay has been instrumental in driving many of our key growth strategies, including international acquisitions and investments,” said Bruce Campbell, chief development officer and general counsel, to whom Rosenstock will continue to report for his corporate development responsibilities. “This extensive global experience will be key in growing Discovery’s international business as well as expanding Discovery Education’s international footprint.”