Blackboard hits the market for a potential $3B sale


bbYup. New about the largest Moodle Partner worldwide, with the combined clientele of Netspot, Moodlerooms and Remote-Learner UK being up for sale has just been released by Reuters news source. Purportedly the current owners of one of the largest education technology companies in the world, Providence Equity Partners, LLC has enlisted Deutsche Bank and Bank of America to run an auction for the company. Read the full article here:

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Annual earnings of the company are around 200 million dollars per year and insiders suggest that it could fetch a valuation as high as 17 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITA): or roughly $3.4 billion dollars. With a B.

Based in Washington D.C., Blackboard provides custom software to help students collaborate on assignments and communicate with teachers. It serves 19,000 clients in 100 countries including 1,900 international institutions, with 80 percent of the top academic institutions using its software, according to its website.

Obviously the price tag is a little high for just anyone to make a purchase, but a large company facing an economic downturn (think Pearson or McGraw Hill) could make a play for the company. Interesting times in education technology for sure!

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  1. The interesting question in my mind is why does Providence want to auction the company? One scenario is that Blackboard sales are decreasing so the investment firm sees potential returns are better in other fields. If this is the case, the potential bidder had better discount current sales in estimating the price. Instead of 17x current sales, a wise bidder may offer 5x sales or $1B. In the everchanging world of LMSs, and competing against open source competitors, sales could evaporate in a matter of a few years, not decades.

    Note that in his MootAU keynote address in early July, Martin clearly and emphatically stated Moodle itself will never get involved in venture capital investments.


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