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Blackboard-Anthology Merger to Create New EdTech Company; Bill Ballhaus, Jim Milton Quoted

Anthology and Blackboard have agreed to merge to establish a new education technology software and platforms provider to help education institutions accelerate transformation efforts and improve the learner experience.

The combination is expected to conclude by the end of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, the companies said in a joint release published Monday.

“Upon the completion of this merger, we will have a data-driven product portfolio that seeks to touch every constituent at the institution and will aim to transform the way education uses technology to engage, connect, teach, learn and drive efficiencies across the institution,” said Jim Milton, chairman and CEO of Anthology.

Milton will assume the roles of chairman and CEO of the combined entity.

“We believe that combining our companies will enable us to break down data silos across the institution and surface deeper insights about the learner so that we can deliver unmatched personalized experiences across the full learner lifecycle,” said Bill Ballhaus, chairman, CEO and president of Blackboard and a previous Wash100 Award recipient.

Reston, Virginia-based Blackboard is an EdTech company providing learning management software, communications tools and other platforms to K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses and government clients worldwide.

Anthology is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and delivers higher education enterprise software and tools to over 2,000 colleges and universities in more than 30 countries.

Veritas Capital, which has a majority interest in Anthology, will serve as the combined company’s majority owner. Blackboard’s majority owner Providence Equity Partners and Leeds Equity Partners, a majority owner of Anthology, will hold minority stakes in the combined business.

Milbank advised Anthology and Veritas on the deal’s legal aspect. Anthology has received committed financing from J.P. Morgan and UBS with regard to the transaction.

Deutsche Bank and Weil, Gotshal & Manges served as financial and legal advisers, respectively, to Blackboard in the transaction. Debevoise & Plimpton acted as Providence’s legal counsel.

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