- Noodle, a prominent online program management company, announced Thursday that it has acquired Hubble Studios, a South Africa-based company that helps develop online education content and technology.
- The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal. The OPM says the acquisition will help the company tap into the international market and bring it dozens of new corporate clients looking to upskill their workers, including Johnson & Johnson and the World Bank.
- Noodle is retaining all of Hubble Studios’ roughly 50 employees under the deal. Hubble Studios’ chief executive, Hannes Geldenhuys, is becoming Noodle's senior vice president of international. Hubble Studios' chief academic officer, Chelsey Pienaar, is becoming Noodle's managing director for learning.
Noodle bills itself as an alternative to traditional OPM companies, which often help colleges launch and manage online programs in exchange for a cut of their revenue, roughly between 40% and 60%. Noodle, on the other hand, is largely known for offering fee-for-service arrangements for degree programs.
The company said it first started working with Hubble Studios in 2021. Together, they are building more than 100 courses for clients including Yale University’s nursing school, Butler University and the New England College of Optometry, according to the announcement.
With the acquisition, Noodle now has contracts with more than 40 universities and 30 corporations across the globe.
“The acquisition underscores and strengthens Noodle’s commitment to building world-class online learning design that is affordable for our partners and modernizes teaching and learning,” Noodle CEO John Katzman said in a statement.
Noodle has traditionally outsourced some of the services it provides colleges to third-party companies. However, the new deal is helping Noodle continue a larger effort to bring more of those offerings in house, including marketing, enrollment and student support, according to the announcement.
The acquisition comes about two years after Noodle announced it was buying the key assets of HotChalk, an OPM that faced backlash when one of its biggest clients, Concordia University Portland, shuttered in 2020 due to financial difficulties.
Local reporting blamed the closure on the OPM’s revenue-share deal with the college, though HotChalk later sued the university's parent institution, alleging it is owed money for breach of contract and other allegations.
Through the deal, Noodle took over the online programs HotChalk helped run, including those offered at New York University’s education school, EdSurge reported. Noodle also said at the time that it was having conversations to move the programs from revenue-share agreements to fee-for-service contracts, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Lee Bradshaw, Noodle’s chief strategy officer, said in an email Wednesday that those transitions are “in progress,” adding that the partnerships are “very complex with dozens of work streams.”