Tech giant Microsoft Corp. is spending $1 billion to acquire Columbia Business College in an effort to accelerate the university’s growth, according to people familiar with the matter.
Microsoft has made the announcement, which would be the largest acquisition of an American business school in the last decade, as it seeks to expand its reach in education and accelerate the return on its investment in a business school that has struggled to gain traction.
The deal would give Microsoft a presence in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries, one with a growing and diverse student body.
Microsoft is not the only company with an interest in the school, which has struggled in recent years to attract and retain top talent, but it is one of a number of companies with deep pockets that are betting on the school’s future.
Microsoft and the school have previously been linked, with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2012 pledging to invest $50 million into the school.
A recent Bloomberg News report showed Microsoft and Columbia Business Colleges had reached a $3 billion agreement.
The new purchase would give the company access to some of the largest assets in the Columbia Business school’s portfolio, including its offices in New York and its campus in Columbia, South Carolina.
It also would give Columbia a greater stake in Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, a company that Microsoft bought in 2015.
Microsoft declined to comment on the deal.
Columbia Business has been in a constant state of flux for the last several years.
Its flagship program, The MBA, has been struggling to find students and attract graduates and it has struggled financially.
Its president, Michael G. Belsky, resigned in November amid a scandal over the schools handling of sexual assault allegations against three students.
Microsoft bought Skype for $19.2 billion in 2014, but that deal is now being renegotiated.
Microsoft also acquired LinkedIn, a competitor to Microsoft that competes in a number the areas of cloud computing and data analytics.
The two companies also have a history of being in competition, with Columbia also having a history with Microsoft, and in January 2015, Columbia announced that it was pulling out of a partnership with the company, citing the companys failure to meet its academic standards.
Columbia is also in the process of buying a stake in Facebook, another technology company that was valued at $24 billion, according a person familiar with its thinking.
The purchase would bring Microsoft an array of assets and an extensive network of faculty and staff in Columbia.
Columbia also has the largest number of students in a U.S. business school.
About a third of its students are enrolled in the college’s flagship program.
It is one that is seen as an anchor for the broader economy, with a strong alumni base and an online presence that has helped attract top talent to the school and its alumni.
The school has been a fixture of the U..
S., where it was founded in 1929 by a group of businessmen.
In recent years, the school has experienced a steady decline in enrollment, and the program is seen by many as a model for the nation.
The university has been expanding since the mid-2000s, expanding enrollment to about 1,500 students per year, the people said.
It currently has about 1.2 million students enrolled in its program, including a number from low-income families.
Microsoft acquired Skype last year for $8.5 million in cash and a $2.2-billion offer from Skype, according the Bloomberg News article.