Inside Higher Ed, on the latest blockbuster merger in for-profit higher-ed:
Anthology, which emerged a year ago from the combination of three higher education administrative software firms, will merge with Blackboard, long the most visible company in learning technology, the two companies announced today. The deal will result in the end of Blackboard as a freestanding company, and could bring the end of its well-known, and sometimes controversial, brand. The companies did not share any financial data, but the combined entity is likely to be among the sector’s biggest educational technology firms. Blackboard’s current owner, Providence Equity Partners, bought it in 2011 for $1.64 billion, and Blackboard was shopped (but not sold) in 2015 for about $3 billion.
The details are sketchy, but it sure looks like data analytics is the combined company’s future:
Milton [the Anthology CEO] and Bill Ballhaus, Blackboard’s chairman, CEO and president, said the power of the combined company will flow from its ability to bring data from across the student life cycle to bear on student and institutional performance. “We’re on the cusp of breaking down the data siloes” that often exist between administrative and academic departments on campuses, Ballhaus said.
That sounds ominous.