Blackboard's Providence Potential

Blackboard, as predicted, wound up in the hands of private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners. It sold for $45 a share, a 21% premium over Blackboard's price as of April 18 when it said it was weighing buyout options. Providence looks like its putting together a portfolio of online education offerings as it owns college operator, Education Management Corp., and English language specialist, Study Group Pty Ltd. Last year Blackboard snapped up virtual classroom companies, Elluminate and Wimba. Joshua Kim, who writes for Inside HigherEd, offers thoughts about how Blackboard could grow into a very rich asset. Private equity usually represents a chance for companies to weed out their portfolio, tighten focus and prioritize profitability.

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