Dana maker AlphaSmart Inc. and K-12 learning information system developer Renaissance Learning Inc. have announced plans to merge. Under the terms of the agreement, valued at about US$57 million, AlphaSmart stockholders will receive $3.75 per share. The plan is subject to customary regulatory approval and still has to be approved by AlphaSmart stockholders. Renaissance Learning said that it plans to operate AlphaSmart as a wholly-owned subsidiary, retaining the AlphaSmart brand.
AlphaSmart makes portable computers designed to serve as an alternative to Apple’s “one-to-one” initiatives involving iBooks and mobile iBook labs in public schools. AlphaSmart’s devices include the Dana and Dana Wireless — integrated all-in-one solid state computers that use Palm OS — and the Neo, which provides a text-based interface and can emulate a keyboard when it’s connected to a desktop Mac or PC’s USB interface.
Renaissance Learning’s products include Renaissance Solutions, learning system software modules that provide teachers with information about the academic progress of their students; and Renaissance Place, a Web-based information system for teachers and administrators that provides some similar functionality as Apple’s PowerSchool technology.