Opinion – Just Thinking… (what if Moodle bought #Blackboard?)


This is a guest post that originally was posted as a comment to MoodleNews’ coverage of the Motley Fool article concerning Blackboard and it’s acquisitions history/future (http://lmspulse.com/2010/blackboard-and-moodle-acquisition/).

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The following is cross-posted at http://pmasson.wordpress.com and is written by Patrick Masson.  Enjoy!

Maybe a more interesting scenario might be: Moodle buys Blackboard.

I wonder what might be the affect of a fund raising campaign, a-la Wikipedia, which raised $6.2 million in 2008 and $7.5 million in 2009 [1]? With $13.7 million, Moodle could buy 394,926 shares of Blackboard at today’s price of $34.69. Admittedly that’s only 14%, but in only a few years Moodle could become the controlling interest in Blackboard. I will also admit, Moodle’s 953,597 “registered users [2], are far fewer than Wikipedias “three million active contributors” [3]. While the number of registered users (those who administer Moodle sites) would obviously be less than average users (the millions of students who use the LMS for course work), I would suspect only the site admins would choose to donate (and only a percentage of those. Using Wikipedia’s numbers: 3 million users = 7.5 million dollars, Moodle might expect to raise $2,383,992. At this rate it would take several years to gain a controlling interest (all while “investing” in your competitor’s product).

Another approach might be to request (or “license”) current and future Moodle adopters to donate the equivalent of one year’s licensing fees of whatever system they were on prior to Moodle. For example, if an institution was paying $20,000 annually to license Blackboard, that money would be paid to Moodle for the first year of use after implementation. According to North Carolina Community College System’s Feasibility Study Report [4] the average cost savings for implementing Moodle per campus is $21,817, and $11.66 per student. Using these numbers, the above “licensing” approach would yield $1,195,767,953 based on money raised from registered sites (54,809 registered validated sites [5] x $21,817) or $444,907,110 based on the number of users (38,156,699 users [5] x $11.66). Either of these amounts would provide enough to gain a significant interest in Blackboard at its current value of $1,189,520,100 ($34.66/per share x 34.29M shares).

Just thinking…

[1] http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/75_million_wikipedia_reaches_fundraising_goal.php
[2] http://moodle.org/community/
[3] http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB125893981183759969.html
[4] http://oscmoodlereport.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/moodle_feasibility_moottx_aug_10.pdf
[5] http://moodle.org/stats/

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