September 13, 2021

The next big step in our journey

This content was previously published by Blackboard, now part of Anthology. Product and/or solution names may have changed.

Over the past several years, Blackboard has transformed into a thriving SaaS software company partnered with the education community to advance learning around the globe.  As we look to the future, we are ready to both expand and accelerate our vision of delivering a personalized experience fueled by data. To support the next phase of our journey, we announced today that we entered into a definitive merger agreement with Anthology, a cloud-based software company focused on serving global education institutions. 

By combining the broad set of Blackboard’s and Anthology’s complementary capabilities – including Learning Management System, community engagement, student success, student information system and enterprise resource planning  –  we will provide you, our valued clients, a full suite of enterprise-level products and services that will drive learner and institutional success.  Combining the two companies will create the most comprehensive and modern EdTech ecosystem at a global scale for education. It will enable us to break down data silos, and surface deeper insights about the learner so we can deliver unmatched personalized experiences across the full learner lifecycle and drive better outcomes in enrollment, progression and graduation in privacy-friendly and secure way.  

Blackboard and Anthology share a history of bringing together capabilities through acquisition and innovation, and a laser focus on enabling client institutions to deliver better outcomes for their students.  Our shared passion for serving the global education community and similar experiences will serve us well as we work to combine our two organizations and form a new company. 

When the merger closes, Jim Milton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Anthology, will serve as Chairman and CEO of the combined company. Jim has more than 35 years of experience in leadership roles at technology companies. We have a shared commitment to driving learner success and vision for the opportunity in the education market. I have every confidence in his ability to lead the combined company in this next stage of growth, and I’ll personally support its success as an investor in the combined company. 

The combined company will be majority-owned by Veritas Capital, a private equity firm that I have a long-time relationship with, spanning three decades. Veritas focuses its investments in technology, innovation and growth – the right focus to best serve our clients and employees for this next phase of our journey. 

We’ll have more details on the combination in the weeks and months ahead.  The merger is subject to regulatory approvals, and we expect it to close by the end of the year. 

Blackboard’s tremendous legacy as a leader in education technology and our evolution to becoming a SaaS-based company has led us to this exciting milestone in our journey. 

We’re proud of what we accomplished over the past few years as we: 

  • moved all of our products to the cloud; 
  • migrated (or are actively planning to migrate) 85% percent of clients using our Blackboard Learn Learning Management System to SaaS; 
  • developed a common architecture and universal design to create a unified look and feel across our products; 
  • deployed a data platform to aggregate and secure data from across our digital tools; 
  • established a robust mobile presence and virtual classroom tool to engage with users wherever they are; 
  • launched and grew a robust set of consulting and student services that position us to lead the market with a unique unbundled approach to online program management; and,  
  • expanded our global client experience portfolio to ensure rapid response to the needs of remote and blended learning.   

Because we built a strong foundation and put in place the right technology and service offerings, Blackboard quickly met the needs of the global education community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as everyone quickly pivoted to full-time and complete remote learning.  We are proud that we were able to support over 150 million learners and educators around the world through one of the most tumultuous times in history.  

As a result of the technology foundation that we built, today we are the only EdTech provider with the ability to address education’s complex challenges through an integrated and seamless EdTech ecosystem.   

Now, we’re ready to broaden the possibilities of delivering personalized experiences fueled by data through our combination with Anthology. We could not be more excited about what’s to come for Blackboard and for the global education community!  We are proud to partner with all of you, who share such a deep commitment to advancing learning and delivering improved outcomes for students.  

Bill Ballhaus