Blackboard and WebCT Announce Plans to merge

Press Release, Blackboard, Oct 12, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is obviously huge news. I'll have more coverage and reax tomorrow.

Here is the direct link:

(My site was hit with a DOS last night and again tonight, so there may be a server outage)

Announced at 4pm eastern to (both and are pointing to the same link):


Blackboard and WebCT, leading providers of enterprise software and services to the education industry have announced plans to merge. The announcement was made at October 12th at 4 pm EST in a news release posted on PR News wire.

"I have had experience with both companies and view this merger as combining excellence with excellence to advance the e-Learning industry, I also see this combination as a way to break down barriers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to open the door to new opportunities for collaboration among institutions using different e-learning platforms." - Jack Wilson, President of The University of Massachusetts and current WebCT Vista client.

“This merger makes tremendous sense for our clients, shareholders, and employees.” said Michael Chasen, Blackboard President and Chief Executive Officer. “It represents an unparalleled opportunity for two successful, mission-driven organizations to unify in a combined platform singularly focused on being the premier partner for educators on a global basis. Together with our clients, we have one of those rare and special opportunities to truly improve the access, quality and efficiency of education on a global scale.”

“Today is a great day for WebCT’s and Blackboard’s clients, partners, investors and employees,” said Carol Vallone, WebCT President and Chief Executive Officer. “Both companies feel passionately about academic pursuits, institutions of learning and, most importantly, their various constituents, and have shared credit in jointly pioneering the integration of technology and education. We’ve thought a lot about the alignment of cultures, technologies and overall strategies of the companies and these businesses belong together.”

Just the Facts:

Plans for the merger:

Closing expected in late 2005 or early 2006.

Company will remain under the Blackboard brand.

Both Blackboard and WebCT product lines will remain intact and supported.

Over time, Blackboard will incorporate the best features and usability characteristics from the two product lines into a new standards-based product set.

Combined company will have more than 3,700 clients.

Approximately 800 employees.

7 offices around the US and abroad.

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