Bertelsmann Sets Up $100 Million Fund for Education Investments

Bertelsmann AG, Europe’s largest media company, set up a fund of more than $100 million with co-investors to expand in the European and U.S. private-education markets.

The University Ventures Fund I will develop and offer higher-education programs, in partnership with “leading universities,” the Guetersloh, Germany-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Bertelsmann is contributing $50 million and may also make “targeted direct investments” as part of the venture.

Bertelsmann Chief Executive Officer Thomas Rabe, who took over from Hartmut Ostrowski on Jan. 1, is accelerating a drive into growth markets including digital publishing and e-commerce as well as emerging economies. The company already invests in education via two funds, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

“Education in general, and services for educational providers in particular, represent a promising and custom-made opportunity for a global media and services company like Bertelsmann,” Rabe said in today’s statement. The company “deliberately opted for an entrepreneurial concept that relies on building the business gradually.”

One of the co-investors is University of Texas Investment Management Co., Bertelsmann said. Initial investments include a deal with Brandman University in California and with the Chapman University System, which provides education to working adults.

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