Publishing and education company Pearson PLC said Thursday that it agreed to buy online charter school operator Connections Education for $400 million in cash.
In announcing the acquisition, London-based Pearson noted that virtual public schools, which serve students who need flexible schedules or are home-schooled, are a large and rapidly growing segment of education in the United States. Virtual charter schools are funded by states and are free for the students who attend.
For each of the past three years, Pearson noted that Connections Education has produced revenue growth of more than 30 percent.
The acquisition adds to Pearson's growing U.S. education holdings.
In April, the company announced its plans to buy education technology company Schoolnet for $230 million in cash. Based in New York, Schoolnet serves more than 5 million U.S. students from pre-kindergarten age through the 12th grade.
In July, the company said its international education division led a gain it its first-half operating profit. Its North American education unit also again topped the company's revenue table.