Blackboard, Inc. announces the acquisition of Wimba, Inc. and Eluminate, Inc.
July 07, 2010

Combination Brings Together Industry-Leading Solutions for Synchronous Learning

WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) today announced that it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire both Elluminate, Inc. and Wimba, Inc., two of the leading providers of synchronous learning and collaboration technology to the education markets, for a total of approximately $116 million in cash, excluding transaction costs and subject to certain adjustments.

These leading teams and solutions together will form Blackboard Collaborate, the newest standalone platform in the Company’s family of education solutions. Blackboard, combined with the teams from Elluminate and Wimba, will pursue greater innovation to meet growing needs in the area of synchronous learning and collaboration, including continued support for integrations with open source applications and other commercial learning management systems (LMS).

Elluminate and Wimba offer advanced virtual classroom technology that allows education institutions to hold synchronous live courses over the Web, including audio, video, white board and social learning capabilities. The technologies are used to supplement traditional courses, to support full distance learning courses, and to facilitate a variety of other collaborative interactions including virtual office hours, team meetings, professional development, student projects and mentoring and tutoring opportunities.

“We’ve heard directly from our clients that this technology has become increasingly fundamental to the learning process for the online course experience and beyond,” said Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard President and CEO. “Collaboration technology is joining the range of solutions that our clients are leveraging to support and improve the teaching and learning experience. We expect this will grow as institutions look for cost-effective ways to encourage social learning and support learning interactions of all kinds."

Leading Providers of Synchronous Learning and Collaboration Software in Education Combine to Establish Blackboard Collaborate

Together, Elluminate and Wimba serve more than 2,600 institutions in the U.S. K-12, U.S. higher education, international and professional education markets.

“Bringing Elluminate and Wimba together allows us to accelerate development of their technologies to better realize the full potential for impacting education—at a rate much faster than any of our organizations could have achieved independently,” said Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn who will set the technology strategy and provide leadership to the combined team. “I’m confident in our ability to maintain positive experiences for clients and learners in all contexts, regardless of which learning management system is used. We will continue to support Elluminate and Wimba integrations for open source products and plan to do the same for bridges with other commercial LMS providers as well.”

  • Elluminate, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, was founded in 2000 and employs approximately 140 professional staff serving more than 1,900 K-12 and higher education clients located throughout the U.S. and 80 other countries.
  • Wimba, headquartered in New York, NY, was founded in 1998 and employs approximately 100 professional staff serving more than 700 K-12 and higher education clients located throughout the U.S. and 27 other countries.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

About Elluminate
Elluminate, Inc. delivers best-in-class web, audio, video, and social networking solutions optimized for 21st century teaching, learning, and collaboration. The company helps unify enterprise technologies to ensure that learning and collaboration happen in a better, faster, and more efficient way. Since its founding in 2000, the company has grown to provide over 1 billion web-collaboration minutes annually, serving over 7 million teachers and students located in over 170 different countries.

Elluminate was named one of Deloitte’s 50 Fastest Growing Technology Companies and was positioned in the Visionaries Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing, 2009. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Pleasanton, California, Elluminate is the trusted choice of prominent academic institutions and corporations, including ADP, The California State University, IBM, K12 Inc., Los Angeles Unified School District, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, The Open University, and many others.

About Wimba®
Wimba® is a leading provider of collaborative solutions used by thousands of educators around the world to engage students, support business needs, and save time and money. The Wimba Collaboration Suite™—awarded the 2009 “Best Education Solution” and 2010 “Best Collaboration Solution” CODiE award by SIIA—offers students, teachers and administrators an engaging and comprehensive collaboration environment for instruction, meetings and help. By combining academic features, ease of use and interactive technologies, Wimba goes well beyond web conferencing and sets a new standard for collaboration.