Blackboard Inc said March 7 that it agreed to sell its Transact business unit, including Cashnet, to Reverence Capital Partners. Financial terms weren’t announced. The deal is expected to close in second quarter. Transact, of Phoenix, provides campus engagement and payments solutions to higher-education and other institutions in the U.S. and internationally. Blackboard is a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners. Deutsche Bank served as financial adviser, while Dechert acted as legal counsel to Blackboard. Macquarie Capital and UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisers, while Winston & Strawn LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to Reverence Capital.
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Blackboard Inc. today announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its Blackboard Transact business unit (“Transact”) to Reverence Capital Partners, LP (“Reverence”). The transaction will enable Blackboard to remain laser focused on and continue to deliver market-leading innovation in its teaching and learning portfolio of solutions, the core of its business for over 20 years. It will also allow Transact, the market-leading campus engagement and payments solutions provider to higher-education and other institutions in the U.S. and internationally, to increase its focus on the innovations and services that are core to its client base. The deal is anticipated to close during the second quarter of 2019.
This transaction enables Blackboard to accelerate the enhancements of its higher education teaching and learning EdTech platform, led by key solutions including Blackboard Learn Ultra, Blackboard Ally, Blackboard Collaborate, and the company’s analytics solutions. At the same time, the company will continue to offer K-12 products that enhance, support, and facilitate better parent and community involvement in education because research shows that student engagement directly correlates to success in the classroom. Blackboard will also continue to offer services that improve the business of education including growing enrollments and improving retention, IT help desk, and one stop services.
Transact has an extensive portfolio of integrated solutions that enable institutions to provide a frictionless engagement experience including campus access, mobile credentials, stored value and point-of-sale solutions, security management, attendance automation, events authorization, electronic tuition payments, and bookstore management. As a market leader in the campus engagement and payments solutions business and first-mover in products such as mobile credentialing, Transact is well positioned to continue to grow and create value for its clients and employees as a standalone entity.
“As a market-leading, cloud-based education technology company, we are continuously examining all aspects of our portfolio and looking for ways to provide maximum value to our global client base and shareholders,” said Blackboard Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus. “This strategic move allows for the continued simplification of our business. Most importantly, it allows us to accelerate innovation in our teaching and learning platform, delivering unique value to our clients to drive learner engagement, improve academic effectiveness, and provide education insights.”
Transact will continue to be led by David Marr as its CEO, a seasoned executive with over twenty-six years of education and technology experience.
“I am proud of the success Transact has experienced over the past eighteen years as a part of the Blackboard family,” said Marr. “The Transact team is highly dedicated to our clients and passionate about making a difference in students’ lives. We believe our future is bright and are thrilled to partner with Reverence Capital as we continue to deliver the most innovative solutions for integrated payments, campus commerce and engagement, and security management.”
“We are excited to partner with Transact to continue to build on the company’s leadership position in campus engagement and payment solutions,” said Milton Berlinski, Managing Partner of Reverence Capital Partners, LP. “Transact’s objective to provide mission-critical integrated solutions has fostered a strong culture of product innovation and client focus. We are looking forward to supporting the Transact team as the company moves toward its next phase of growth and development.”
Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor and Dechert acted as legal counsel to Blackboard. Macquarie Capital and UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisors, while Winston & Strawn LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to Reverence Capital.
Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education’s partner in change.
As a market leader in campus engagement and payments solutions and a first-mover innovator in NFC mobile credentials, Transact enables institutions to identify and engage students, elevating the student experience through mission-critical transactions. Transact is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and has served the education community for over 25 years.
About Reverence Capital Partners
Reverence Capital Partners is a private investment firm focused on thematic investing in leading global, middle-market Financial Services businesses through control and influence oriented investments in 5 sectors: (1) Depositories and Finance Companies, (2) Asset and Wealth Management, (3) Insurance, (4) Capital Markets and (5) Financial Technology/Payments. The firm was founded in 2013, by Milton Berlinski, Peter Aberg and Alex Chulack, after distinguished careers advising and investing in a broad array of financial services businesses. The Partners collectively bring over 90 years of advisory and investing experience across a wide range of financial services sectors.