By Melissa Korn 

Advance Publications Inc. agreed to acquire Turnitin, the software company that allows teachers to check whether papers submitted by students have been plagiarized, for nearly $1.75 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Advance Publications, the privately held company that owns Condé Nast and American City Business Journals, also is a major shareholder in Charter Communications Inc. and Discovery Inc.

Turnitin uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to check for plagiarism in written and code assignments. The company also automates grading for teachers by marking grammatical errors and checking whether lines of code will work. It has reviewed the work of more than 34 million students across 153 countries, with about two-thirds of its customers in higher education and most of the rest in high schools.

The deal, which awaits regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Advance has been expanding beyond its core print media market. In addition to stakes in Charter, Discovery and reddit, last year it bought Stage Entertainment, a theater production company that operates 20 theaters globally.

Turnitin, based in Oakland, Calif., is currently owned by an investment group affiliated with venture-capital firm Insight Venture Partners, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and others.

Insight, GIC and other investors bought iParidigms, Turnitin's parent company, for $752 million in 2014.

Write to Melissa Korn at melissa.korn@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 06, 2019 13:50 ET (18:50 GMT)

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