In the online education space, if you don't already have a well of content to draw from, the quickest path to implementation can be an acquisition. That's the strategy Praetorian Digital, a B2B digital media company serving the public safety and local government markets, used last week when it bought the Fire & EMS training unit from Kaplan Professional Education.
Terms weren't disclosed but Praetorian CEO Alex Ford says the deal was financed through a mix of existing cash and term loan financing.
Praetorian's audience to its first responder brands has been growing. Traffic to FireRescue1.com, EMS1.com, PoliceOne.com and CorrectionsOne.com has ballooned to 1.3 million members and 6 million monthly visitors, according to the company.
Training and certificate programs are a key function of first responder markets, and Ford sees them as a complimentary platform to the company's information products and services.
"We recognized that there is a strong fit between online training and our core media business," he says. "Rather than build a content library and work through the accreditation process from scratch, an acquisition to fast-track the opportunity made a lot of sense. Kaplan was not actively marketing the business, but it became immediately clear that it was a strong strategic fit with our business and that a combination was a great next step to scale the assets."
Online training has become a significant business for Praetorian. Two years ago it accounted for less than 5 percent of overall revenue. The Kaplan deal will help it grow to a projected 25 percent this year.
Kaplan Fire & EMS will be renamed to the Fire EMS Academy and will be housed in the company's Fire EMS Academy Division. In all, the group will offer more than 200 training courses, 600 videos and 80 hours of continuing education credits.
The Kaplan product comes with 300 fire and EMS department subscribers and "tens of thousands" of individual students using the products on an on-demand basis, says Ford. The annual department subscriptions are the primary revenue model. "The revenue model matched that of our PoliceOne Academy almost exactly," he adds .