RealTime IT News

Blackboard Buys Piece of CMGI

Blackboard is buying WebCT in a $180 million merger of companies that provide software and services to the education market.

The cash deal, which still requires regulatory approval, is expected to close late this year or in early 2006.

"[The merger is] an unparalleled opportunity for two successful, mission-driven organizations to unify in a combined platform singularly focused on being the premier partner for educators on a global basis," Michael Chasen, Blackboard president and CEO, said in a statement.

The combined company will retain the Blackboard brand and have more than 3,700 clients in higher education, K-12, government and corporate sectors. It will have approximately 800 employees and seven offices worldwide.

The merger was also welcomed by WebCT investor CMGI .

"We are encouraged by the positive activity in the venture capital and mergers and acquisitions markets," Joseph C. Lawler, president and CEO of CMGI, said in a statement.

Waltham, Mass.-based CMGI, which rose and fell with the dot-com bubble, owns 13.5 percent of WebCT through its @Ventures investment arm.