Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blackboard in Play

Leading educational platform company Blackboard, that virtually invented the learning management system (LMS), has said it will consider placing itself up for sale. According to various reports the company has received multiple unsolicited offers for the company and thus has decided to retain investment council to determine their best course of action.

Shares soared as much as 35% on Tuesday based on the company's announcement and analysts began speculating which companies might bid for the educational services company. Immediately mentioned were publishers Pearson and McGraw Hill although these companies might find it difficult to continue a 'non-biased' version of the Blackboard platform as owners (at least in the minds of educators). Google was also mentioned as a potential buyer - possibly more likely given the company's recent comments about their future m/a plans. According to Feltl & Co analyst Scott Berg, "An acquirer can pay as high as 16-17 times the EBITDA ... I think somewhere between $50 and $57 (per share)" for Blackboard.

Share prices exceeded $50 which values the company at well over $1.3billion and Blackboard has retained
Barclays Capital to advise them on their options.


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