Blackboard's Big Week: IBM Partnership and Higher One Acquisition

ALL A(BLACK)BOARD: First it was a new CEO. Then came an acquisition of a point-of-sales system for university bookstores. This week Blackboard continues to shake things up. It announced a partnership with IBM, in which Big Blue will manage Blackboard’s 28 global data centers and cloud infrastructure. What the press release didn’t say is that the “cloud” in question is Amazon’s Web Services, Fortune reports. Blackboard will also have access to IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology.

Trailing on the heels of that news comes the announcement that Blackboard has entered an agreement to acquire Higher One, a payments technology provider for higher education. More than 700 institutions use Higher One’s CASHnet platform to process electronic payments for everything from tuition to textbooks. Blackboard will pay $5.15 in cash per share for an equity value of $260 million. The acquisition will allow for integration of CASHNet with Blackboard Transact, which provides "cashless campus" technology.

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