Blackboard Inc., a dominant company in the U.S. for e-learning tools, announced this week that it had acquired education software developer ANGEL Learning Inc.
The Indianapolis-based ANGEL’s products include learning management software and an electronic portfolio system that tracks student progress.
The $95-million deal will expand Blackboard’s client base to nearly 6,000 schools, colleges, government agencies, and corporations, according to a company statement.
The Washington-based company, which reported significant losses in revenue last year but has since seen revenues improve, said it anticipates seeing savings by combining some of the two companies’ infrastructure, sales, and administrative operations. Blackboard also hopes that ANGEL’s support services will help the combined company maintain and expand its client base, the statement said.
Is this the start of a trend toward consolidation of ed tech companies? When the textbook publishing industry began consolidating in the 1990s it snowballed to the point where just three or four major companies eventually dominated the K-12 market. Ever since, many smaller and/or newer companies have had a hard time competing.
Seems like there’s a lot of opportunity for innovation and competition in the ed-tech sector, but the poor economy might make it difficult for some companies to get started or get solid footing.
Any market watchers out there want to look into the crystal ball for us?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.