Blackboard gone forever? Investment firms continue to reshape the EdTech market


IBL News | New York

Veritas Capital, the private equity firm that will own Blackboard following its acquisition from another investment firm, Providence Equity Partners, avoided providing details of the deal yesterday. The New York-based company didn’t even mention the purchase on its website.

This decision, made in a context where EdTech companies are significantly increasing their valuation and their capital increase, was not a surprise.

Providence Partners has been trying to sell Blackboard since 2015, after noting that Blackboard was losing more and more market ground in favor of Instructure’s CanvasLMS.

Specifically, yesterday, the Cal Poly Pomona student newspaper published an eloquent article titled “Web Adoption Clears Campus Blackboard.”

Consultant Phil Hill wrote that it was “the end of Blackboard as a stand-alone EdTech.”

The company headquartered in Washington, DC invented The LMS and overwhelmingly dominating the market for years has been absorbed by a half the size company, Anthology, which was designed primarily for financial purposes.

Basically, and without further confirmation, the mainstream speculation is that Blackboard was valued at less than $ 2 billion, given its struggle with the accumulation of debt. Providence Equity Partners paid $ 1.64 billion to buy Blackboard in 2011. It took them ten years to leave the company.

Meanwhile, Anthology, backed by Veritas Capital, valued at $ 925 million last year, according to data provider PitchBook, appears to be the winner. Its CEO will run the merger company, while the Blackboard chief will not play any leadership role, according to multiple sources.

The deal is awaiting official approval, and it will soon be possible to say how and when venture capitalists – who run the EdTech marketplace – will convince retail investors to back this new venture.


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