(7 Mar 2019) Blackboard Inc. today announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its Blackboard Transact business unit (“Transact”) to Reverence Capital Partners, LP (“Reverence”). The transaction will enable Blackboard to remain laser focused on and continue to deliver market-leading innovation in its teaching and learning portfolio of solutions, the core of its business for over 20 years. It will also allow Transact, the market-leading campus engagement and payments solutions provider to higher-education and other institutions in the U.S. and internationally, to increase its focus on the innovations and services that are core to its client base. The deal is anticipated to close during the second quarter of 2019.
This transaction enables Blackboard to accelerate the enhancements of its higher education teaching and learning EdTech platform, led by key solutions including Blackboard Learn Ultra, Blackboard Ally, Blackboard Collaborate, and the company’s analytics solutions. At the same time, the company will continue to offer K-12 products that enhance, support, and facilitate better parent and community involvement in education because research shows that student engagement directly correlates to success in the classroom. Blackboard will also continue to offer services that improve the business of education including growing enrollments and improving retention, IT help desk, and one stop services.
Transact has an extensive portfolio of integrated solutions that enable institutions to provide a frictionless engagement experience including campus access, mobile credentials, stored value and point-of-sale solutions, security management, attendance automation, events authorization, electronic tuition payments, and bookstore management. As a market leader in the campus engagement and payments solutions business and first-mover in products such as mobile credentialing, Transact is well positioned to continue to grow and create value for its clients and employees as a standalone entity.
“As a market-leading, cloud-based education technology company, we are continuously examining all aspects of our portfolio and looking for ways to provide maximum value to our global client base and shareholders,” said Blackboard Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus. “This strategic move allows for the continued simplification of our business. Most importantly, it allows us to accelerate innovation in our teaching and learning platform, delivering unique value to our clients to drive learner engagement, improve academic effectiveness, and provide education insights.”
Transact will continue to be led by David Marr as its CEO, a seasoned executive with over twenty-six years of education and technology experience.
“I am proud of the success Transact has experienced over the past eighteen years as a part of the Blackboard family,” said Marr. “The Transact team is highly dedicated to our clients and passionate about making a difference in students’ lives. We believe our future is bright and are thrilled to partner with Reverence Capital as we continue to deliver the most innovative solutions for integrated payments, campus commerce and engagement, and security management.”
“We are excited to partner with Transact to continue to build on the company’s leadership position in campus engagement and payment solutions,” said Milton Berlinski, Managing Partner of Reverence Capital Partners, LP. “Transact’s objective to provide mission-critical integrated solutions has fostered a strong culture of product innovation and client focus. We are looking forward to supporting the Transact team as the company moves toward its next phase of growth and development.”
Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor and Dechert acted as legal counsel to Blackboard. Macquarie Capital and UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisors, while Winston & Strawn LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to Reverence Capital.
For the full press release, see here.