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Tuesday 14 September 2021

Anthology and Blackboard to merge

Anthology logoAnthology and Blackboard have announced an agreement to combine the two businesses to create a major new force in the education technology market.

Blackboard logoAnthology was formed in July 2020 when Veritas Capital and Leeds Equity Partners announced the combination of Campus Management, Campus Labs, and iModules. The organisation has a customer base covering 2,000 college and higher education institutions in more than 30 countries, although its business is predominantly concentrated in North America. It offers 14 cloud-based solutions, which are designed to leverage Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. The company is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, but has offices globally including in London.

Blackboard provides learning management software (LMS), communication tools and student engagement solutions to 150m users in more than 80 countries. Along with Moodle, it is one of the most commonly used LMS in UK higher education institutions; however, both have been losing share to Thoma Bravo business, Instructure, in recent years.

Combined, Anthology and Blackboard will provide a comprehensive suite of education solutions spanning LMS, student information system, student engagement, enterprise resource planning, and alumni management. A key part of its future strategy is likely to be data-focused, combining information from across the breadth of its solutions to break down data silos and provide actionable intelligence for universities.

The combined entity will be majority owned by Veritas Capital, with Leeds Equity Partners and Providence Equity Partners (Blackboard’s existing majority owner) holding a minority stake. Jim Milton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Anthology, will serve as Chairman and CEO of the combined company, which has an estimated value of c.$3bn. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021.

There are strong synergies and very little overlap between the product and services offered by Anthology and Blackboard. We can expect the combined business to leverage Blackboard's global reach to cross-sell the Anthology product portfolio, including in the UK.

The deal provides another example of the globally-focused consolidation trend in education technology (see UK Education Suppliers & Market Analysis for further discussion).

Posted by: Dale Peters at 10:02

Tags: acquisition   education   merger   university   edtech   higher+education  

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