Textbook rental company Chegg announced Tuesday that it is acquiring the venture-backed InstaEDU, a website that connects students with tutors, for $30 million.
In the past few years, Chegg has acquired a series of college student-focused startups in the hopes of distancing itself from its core business, which investors worry won't last as more textbooks become available digitally.
Concerns over the longevity of a business based on leasing e-books has caused Chegg's stock to slide steeply, to around $5.40, since its public debut late last year at $12.50 a share. In response, Chegg has put increasing emphasis on its other, growing digital businesses, although textbook rental still makes up 76% of the company's revenue.
Chegg bought CampusSpecial, a discount food-ordering service, earlier this year, and has previously acquired a homework help website, a lecture note marketplace, and a college matching site, among others.
Each acquisition has been with an eye toward disrupting a part of the student experience, from how students study to how they find internships and apply to colleges, CEO Dan Rosensweig told BuzzFeed in an interview in April. In a statement today, Rosensweig said, "On-demand tutoring, anytime, anywhere, on any device is a very disruptive idea."
Analysts expressed some skepticism in an earnings call last month over Chegg's $17 million acquisition of CampusSpecial, which one called "not core to your studying-related business." Rosensweig said he hoped CampusSpecial would disrupt the college meal plan.
Molly Hensley-Clancy is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. She covers the intersection of business and education.
Contact Molly Hensley-Clancy at email@example.com.
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