Barnes and Noble Education Acquires LMS Provider, LoudCloud System

BARNES GETS LOUD: Barnes & Noble Education (NYSE:BNED) isn’t backing down when it comes to education technology. The company has forked over $17.9 million in cash to acquire LoudCloud Systems, a developer of a learning management system used by K-12 and higher-ed institutions. Founded in 2010, LoudCloud had raised $15 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase.

(Barnes & Noble Education, which currently operates 748 college bookstores, was spun off from its parent company, Barnes & Noble Inc., in August 2015.)

The company remains determined to grow its digital presence, even if its recent efforts have been more sour than sweet. Yuzu, a digital textbook platform announced in 2014, has struggled, leading BNED to close its Yuzu offices, cut staff, and outsource its operations to another company, Vitalsource. Flashnotes, a digital study guides tool that BNED invested in, also isn’t doing too hot. These two efforts accounted for a $12 million noncash impairment loss for the company during the quarter that ended Jan. 30. Overall, BNED reported a loss of $3.6 million that quarter in its earnings report.

Phil Hill of e-Literate suggests “the primary rationale for the purchase is a pivot of sorts as Barnes & Noble [Education] addresses flagging sales of textbooks and the need to develop a courseware and digital content strategy.”

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