prnewswire | October 28, 2020
Supported by Morgan Stanley and Bloomberg Media, Columbia Business School today announced a pioneering new online course, The Business of Entertainment. The unique collaboration brings together leaders in the fields of entertainment, media, and finance to provide participants with an unparalleled multi-pronged view of the global entertainment industry, a field that generates more than $703 billion annually. The Business of Entertainment will walk participants through the lifecycle of entertainment products, including development, production, distribution and finance, as well as explore the key decisions and business mechanics of the industry including regulation, M&A, strategy and risk management. The online course will feature appearances from accomplished industry leaders currently working to bring to life some of the world's most dynamic entertainment products, content, and experiences across TV, film, music, live production, and sports.
Blackboard Inc. | October 26, 2021
Anthology, a leading provider of higher education software solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, and Blackboard Inc., a leading global EdTech software and solutions company, today completed their previously announced merger.By bringing Blackboard and Anthology together, the combination will create the most comprehensive and modern EdTech ecosystem at a global scale for education. The company is uniquely positioned to enable deeper insights about the learner so that institutions can deliver unmatched personalized experiences and outcomes across the full learner lifecycle.
The parent company of the newly combined organization will be Anthology, with the Blackboard name continuing as an integral part of its brand portfolio. The Anthology brand represents the collection of the best and signifies the continued focus on creating the next chapter in EdTech. The company will tap its leading global position -- with more than 150 million users across 80 countries -- and a comprehensive portfolio of innovative solutions, to enable institutions to remove the historical barriers between administrative and learning ecosystems and drive learner and institutional success.
Led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Milton, a team of top-tier executives has been identified across both organizations to lead the combined company. The company's headquarters will be in Boca Raton, Florida. The company also will maintain its global facility footprint including the main Blackboard office in Reston, Virginia.
"The closing of the transaction represents the next chapter for Anthology and Blackboard as our collective offerings can deliver unmatched personalized experiences and insights across the full learner lifecycle," said Milton. "Our combined broad set of capabilities – including teaching and learning, student information systems, enterprise resource planning, community engagement, student success and student engagement – will provide our clients with a full suite of enterprise-level products and services that enable institutions to not only focus on data-driven decisions but completely transform both student and institutional success."
Clients across higher education, K-12 schools, government and business sectors of the combined companies will benefit from:
Accelerated Investments and Innovation in Current Solutions: Anthology will continue to support the solutions of both companies with key strategic investments and a focus on accelerating innovation. It also will ensure that the various solutions integrate to a heterogeneous EdTech ecosystem.
The World's Largest Modern EdTech Ecosystem and Expanded Portfolio of Solutions: Clients will have access to an expanded product portfolio and global reach to meet institutions' learning and administrative needs.
A Commitment to Privacy, Security and Openness: Ensuring the privacy and security of clients' data is a foundational principle and the combined company will continue to meet the high privacy standards globally. The combined company believes openness is a critical element for innovation and will continue to integrate and connect with other solutions.
"With this combination, Anthology is poised to accelerate the data-driven higher ed ecosystem that the market has been demanding. Under the leadership of Jim Milton and the company's proven senior leadership team, Anthology will serve as an industry force to improve outcomes for students and institutions and ensure the advancement of connected knowledge."
Ramzi Musallam, CEO and Managing Partner of Veritas Capital
The combined entity is majority owned by Veritas Capital ("Veritas"), a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. Leeds Equity Partners ("Leeds"), a private equity firm focused exclusively on partnering with companies in the Knowledge Industries, holds a minority stake in the company as well as Providence Equity Partners LLC ("Providence"), Blackboard's previous majority owner.
Milbank LLP acted as legal advisor to Anthology and Veritas. Deutsche Bank served as financial advisor to Blackboard, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal advisor to Blackboard. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal advisor to Providence.
Anthology exists to help higher education advance and thrive using modern cloud technology and services that keep the learner at the forefront. Drawing on a fully connected data experience, Anthology solutions create operational efficiencies, provide intelligence for staff and administrators, and empower institutional leaders to support and guide students on a path to success.
The full suite covers admission and enrollment management; student success and retention; institutional and learning effectiveness; alumni and advancement; and enterprise applications and infrastructure, offering solutions to the challenges facing campuses today. Working with more than 2,000 colleges and institutions in over 30 countries, Anthology is constantly discovering new ways to revolutionize higher education.
Blackboard is a leading EdTech company, serving higher education, K-12, business and government clients around the world. We connect a deep understanding of education with the power of technology to continuously push the boundaries of learning. Our mission is to advance learning together with the world's education community, so that all learners, educators and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow.
About Veritas Capital
Veritas is a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. The firm invests in companies that provide critical products, software, and services, primarily technology and technology-enabled solutions, to government and commercial customers worldwide. Veritas seeks to create value by strategically transforming the companies in which it invests through organic and inorganic means.
Leveraging technology to make a positive impact across vitally important areas, such as healthcare, education, and national security, is core to Veritas. We are proud stewards of national assets, improving the quality of healthcare while reducing cost, advancing our educational system, and protecting our nation and allies.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a premier global private equity firm with approximately $45 billion in aggregate capital commitments. Providence pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in over 170 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education, software and services industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London.
About Leeds Equity Partners
Leeds Equity Partners is a New York-based private equity firm dedicated exclusively to partnering with management teams in the education, training and information services industries (the "Knowledge Industries"). The firm was founded in 1993 and currently manages $3.9 billion of capital across a broad spectrum of companies within the Knowledge Industries. Leeds Equity seeks to leverage its sector-focused expertise and market insights to create long-term value for its partner companies.
Turning | January 12, 2022
Echo360, the globally leading video-based learning platform, announced today that it has merged with Turning, the world's premier provider of learning engagement platforms for education, business, and government sectors, to establish the industry's most comprehensive SaaS-based video learning and engagement platform that enables instructors and learners to share impactful learning experiences from anywhere.
Combining Echo360's advanced video recording, streaming and video content management platform with Turning's expansive suite of learning engagement, authoring, and content solutions delivers the most holistic learning engagement experience for instructors and learners in any environment -- with more analytics, tools, and integrations with leading LMS platforms to ensure learning outcomes are achieved across every segment the combined enterprise now serves. The additional capital from Centre Lane Partners will enable Echo360 to dramatically expand their current offering in response to faculty and market demand.
A NEW CHAPTER OF GROWTH
Murad Velani, Chief Executive Officer, will lead the combined company, which will operate under the Echo360 brand name. The investment will allow Echo360 to expand its reach geographically and across other core learning markets including K12 education, government, and corporate learning. The combined enterprise will serve over 1,000 colleges and universities around the world, in addition to thousands of K12, business, and government customers in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.
"Our mission is to create remarkable learning experiences for instructors and learners no matter who they are, where they are, or how they choose to learn, and video is an essential tool to enable the level of engagement we strive for in service to our customers around the world," said Velani. "Together Echo360 and Turning deliver the scale to be the global leader in learning engagement across every sector, and expands our ability to create equitable, engaged learning for all. Both companies have remarkable talent, a track record of innovation and impact, and together provide global scale at a time when learning demands and expectations around the world are being challenged and redefined daily."
ANSWERING THE CALL FOR HYBRID LEARNING
Amidst emergency remote learning caused by looming Covid-19 Omicron threats, school faculty, students, and administration are increasingly embracing video and hybrid learning alternatives -- digitally enabled approaches that facilitate more flexible teaching and learning experiences for students and faculty alike. In recent surveys, 73 percent of students have indicated a preference for online learning, and 57 percent of faculty said they would prefer teaching hybrid courses following the pandemic.
"The fit between Turning and Echo360 is a natural one, and one that will immediately benefit the expanded segments," said Fred Singer, former Echo360 CEO who will be joining the newly combined company's board. "The unexpected need to transform campus life in 2020 forced a shift in our understanding of what's possible within a digital classroom and the broader educational technology ecosystem. Coming out of that experience, we've been seeing universities across the globe rethink the role of technology in creating more meaningful, more flexible, and more satisfying experiences for students and faculty alike. The combined platform supplemented with significant capital resources will ensure Echo360 continued leadership," said Singer.
REDEFINING LEARNING ENGAGEMENT
Turning's unique suite of student engagement tools combined with the Echo360 platform creates a highly interactive hybrid learning environment that unleashes the instructional power and learning potential of video. By enhancing Echo360's video-based solutions with Turning innovations, students and faculty will now be able to engage with course material at a deeper level and collaborate more effectively with their peers. Students can access class content and videos at any time and can take notes that are automatically time-synched to moments within the recorded lecture. Faculty can gauge student comprehension through live quizzes and advanced interactive audience response.
To ensure the student experience is ever-improving, faculty can also access a suite of analytics and features to best track student learning and engagement in real-time. Built specifically for the cloud, instructors can use the platform from wherever they are, on any device, to record and create content, give, and receive feedback, and gain real-time insight into a student's learning journey.
"This acquisition will redefine the learning engagement ecosystem, bringing a robust video management system capability to Turning's proven learning engagement solutions to create a transformational SaaS platform at scale that will accelerate growth for the company. Delivering proven Turning solutions like Dojo360, Point Solutions, and ExamView within a holistic Echo360 video learning experience to existing and new customers unlocks expansive growth opportunities, and we are committed to supporting this investment and management team."
Ken Lau, Co-founder, and Managing Director, at Centre Lane Partners, LLC
Echo360 believes that improved outcomes start with great moments in the classroom. Developed by educators, Echo360 helps instructors record and extend those moments to improve learner engagement through accessible, engaging video-based learning, reaching more than two million learners at approximately 1,200 schools and organizations across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. www.echo360.com
Turning was born out of the desire to transform traditional learning into active learning engagement. With global reach and impact across higher education, corporate, K12, and government sectors, the Turning portfolio (including Dojo360, ExamView, Point Solutions, and Knowbly) embodies its mission to create remarkable learning engagement experiences for everyone, everywhere. www.turning.com
About Centre Lane Partners
Centre Lane is a private investment firm focused on making equity and debt, control and non-control, investments in North American middle market companies. Centre Lane targets companies with revenues between $20 and $500 million that have leading market positions and sustainable competitive advantages in their respective niches.