Providence Equity Partners In Talks for Blackboard

Buyout shop Providence Equity Partners is in talks to buy learning software maker Blackboard Inc., Reuters reported. Blackboard, based in Washington DC, hired Barclays Capital in April to advise it on unsolicited, non-binding acquisition proposals. A deal could happen as early as next week, Reuters said.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners is in exclusive talks to buy Blackboard Inc (BBBB.O), which makes learning software for schools and businesses, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

A deal may happen as early as next week, the source said.

Washington D.C.-based Blackboard said in April it had retained Barclays Capital to advise it over unsolicited, non-binding acquisition proposals it has received.

The source declined to be named because the matter is private.

Blackboard and Providence were not immediately available for comment.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported news of the talks.

Blackboard received interest from several peers during the sales process, but the auction ended up being dominated by private equity firms, sources familiar with the situation have previously said.

The company’s shares rose 1.6 percent on Thursday to $40.77. The company has a market capitalization of about $1.4 billion.

Blackboard provides education software technology to millions of students globally. (By Megan Davies and Nadia Damouni; editing by Carol Bishopric)