Online learning giants 2U and edX will merge

Image: 2U and edX, major players in slightly different corners of the online learning market, announced Tuesday that they would join forces.

The merger of 2U, a publicly traded online program management company, and edX, a nonprofit online course provider, surprised just about everyone who follows online learning yet left many observers conceding the logic of this partnership.

Joining forces will give 2U access to edX’s cache of students and high-traffic website, which will significantly lower marketing costs for the OPM giant and its university partners and introduce new revenue streams for them. EdX, which has for years struggled to find a sustainable business model, will receive the capital injections it needs to continue its work and potentially expand its impact through research and improved technology.

The new partnership adds to a growing list of merger and acquisition deals between online education companies. Experts say that combined, the two companies will also create formidable

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