Bertelsman buying Cary online education company Relias

European media giant Bertelsman will buy Relias Learning, a Cary online education company, for a reported half-billion dollars. The Relias deal is Bertelsman’s biggest U.S. acquisition since the conglomerate bought book publisher Random House in 1998.

Bertelsman’s business interests span books, magazines, broadcasting and music rights. With the Relias acquisition, the closely-held German company is now expanding into the online education market. Bertelsman said the Relias deal is valued “in the mid-hundreds of millions” of dollars, and Reuters reported the value at $540 million, based on two anonymous sources.

Relias employs nearly 300 people and will remain headquartered in Cary, managed by the current executive team. “The company expects to hire more employees to keep pace with a burgeoning e-learning market,” Relias said in its announcement this week.

Relias supplies online education courses and training materials for workers in the health are and disabled-care fields. Formed in 2012 through a merger of Essential Learning and Silverchair Learning Systems, Relias said it provided more than 20 million course for more than 4,000 organizations.

Bertelsmann is buying Relias from Vista Equity Partners and LLR Partners.