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Anthology Acquires Blackboard in Major Ed-Tech Merger

Two global education technology companies have announced plans to combine their resources, boost innovation, better serve customers and develop new digital learning products to compete in the growing ed-tech market.

The education software company Anthology and ed-tech giant Blackboard announced plans Monday to merge into what could become one of the largest ed-tech firms in the competitive and growing digital learning market.

According to a news release, the two companies will combine their investments and resources to “create the most comprehensive and modern ed-tech ecosystem available on a global scale.” Anthology CEO Jim Milton will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined company.

"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," Milton said in a public statement.

Anthology's news release said the company works with over 2,000 colleges and universities in more than 30 countries, offering data services for enrollment management, student engagement, alumni fundraising and institutional effectiveness. Blackboard provides learning management software and communication tools for about 150 million users in K-12 schools and higher education in over 80 countries.

"Together, Blackboard and Anthology will lead the next wave of ed-tech innovation," Blackboard CEO and President Bill Ballhaus said in a public statement. "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 life cycle."

According to the announcement, the combined entity will be majority-owned by Veritas Capital, a tech-focused private equity firm in New York and current majority owner of Anthology. Minority owners will include Leeds Equity Partners, also a New York-based private equity firm and majority owner of Anthology, and Providence Equity Partners LLC, which is Blackboard's current majority owner.

Blackboard's Vice President of Global Communications Heather Phillips told Government Technology the two companies have not formalized any plans to change the name of the combined company, adding that branding and corporate identity had yet to be determined as of Monday.

She said the merger could result in new digital learning offerings in the years to come, but neither Blackboard nor Anthology had additional details on future products.

“Blackboard’s products and services greatly complement Anthology’s suite of solutions. We expect this merger to offer our education clients greater innovation and faster response to their needs because of the increased investment in our combined companies,” Phillips said in an email.

Blackboard and Anthology have yet to disclose exact terms of the merger, which is expected to close by the end of the year.
Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.