Purchase of Vast Online Community & Robust Technology Platform
Accelerates Rosetta Stone’s Shift to the Cloud
ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 2, 2013--
Rosetta Stone announced today that it has acquired Seattle-based
Livemocha, one of the world’s largest online language-learning
communities, for $8.5 million in cash. Bringing with it a robust and
extensible cloud-based learning platform and a community of over 16
million Livemocha members, the transaction accelerates Rosetta Stone’s
transition to cloud-based learning solutions and reinforces its
leadership position in the competitive language-learning industry.
“We are in the process of transforming Rosetta Stone to be the most
dynamic and ubiquitous technology-based learning platform in the world,”
said President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Swad. “Our acquisition
of Livemocha will help accelerate that transformation. With Livemocha
and its vibrant online community on our side, Rosetta Stone will reach
more people and change more lives than ever before.”
With members hailing from 195 different countries, the Livemocha
community boasts over 16 million people—including language experts,
instructors and multi-linguists—all teaching, learning and interacting
online. The company has pioneered the use of crowd-sourcing to drive
content development and social engagement in the realm of language
learning. The combined strength of the Livemocha community and Rosetta
Stone’s innovative product development and marketing capabilities
uniquely positions the company to meet the changing needs of learners
around the world.
“Rosetta Stone is a marvelous partner for us,” said Livemocha CEO
Michael Schutzler, who will assist in post-acquisition integration
efforts as a senior advisor to Rosetta Stone CEO Swad. “From the
beginning, Livemocha’s mission has been to create a world in which every
human being is fluent in multiple languages. Rosetta Stone’s brand,
resources and reach will enable us to continue that mission.”
Livemocha will remain in Seattle. Having recently established product
development offices in Austin, TX, and San Francisco, CA, the new
location expands Rosetta Stone’s US footprint—an important factor in
attracting talent to fuel the company’s development of new products.
Indeed, Livemocha’s sophisticated and flexible technology platform is
expected to be part of the foundation for the next wave of Rosetta Stone
“Livemocha will enable us to quickly migrate our legacy products to a
future-proof technology stack with a modern, cloud-based architecture
and contemporary means of distribution,” said Rosetta Stone Chief
Product Officer West Stringfellow. “But even more exciting, it gives our
customers more choice. Livemocha presents us with a low-cost or even
free alternative product to offer learners around the world. It becomes
a ‘ladder of learning and value’ for our customers.”
To be sure, geographic expansion is an attractive feature of the
acquisition. While Livemocha does add to Rosetta Stone’s already premier
presence in the US, its high concentrations of users in China, Russia
and South America—particularly Brazil—make it an even more compelling
complement to Rosetta Stone’s international footprint. Livemocha’s
worldwide community brings vibrant connectivity to Rosetta Stone’s
existing hubs in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
“However you view it—geographically, operationally, technologically,
culturally—Rosetta Stone and Livemocha are a terrific fit,” said Rosetta
Stone CEO Swad. “This acquisition will enable both organizations to grow
and deliver value faster and more effectively than either could alone.
This is a good deal for our business, a good deal for our customers, and
a good deal for language learners all over the world.”
About Rosetta Stone Inc.
Rosetta Stone Inc. provides cutting-edge interactive technology that is
changing the way the world learns languages. The company’s proprietary
learning techniques—acclaimed for their power to unlock the natural
language-learning ability in everyone—are used by schools, businesses,
government organizations and millions of individuals around the world.
Rosetta Stone offers courses in 30 languages, from the most commonly
spoken (like English, Spanish and Mandarin) to the less prominent
(including Swahili, Swedish and Tagalog). The company was founded in
1992 on the core beliefs that learning to speak a language should be a
natural and instinctive process, and that interactive technology can
activate the language immersion method powerfully for learners of any
age. Rosetta Stone is based in Arlington, VA, and has offices in
Harrisonburg, VA, Boulder, CO, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Sao Paulo and Dubai.
Source: Rosetta Stone Inc.
Rosetta Stone Inc.
Steve Somers, CFA