How the big merger of Blackboard and Anthology will affect higher ed

The two companies are looking to 'lead the next wave of EdTech innovation'
By: | September 14, 2021
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Blackboard and Anthology, two solutions providers that serve thousands across the higher education landscape, announced Tuesday they are merging to try to provide better outcomes for colleges and universities. Financial details were not disclosed, but the partnership is a blockbuster and expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.

Officials said the new company, which has not been named but will be majority-owned by private equity firm Veritas, will be the “most comprehensive EdTech ecosystem across academic, administrative and student engagement applications.”

Blackboard’s learning management software and communication tools currently serve 150 million users in more than 80 countries—both higher education and K-12 schools, along with businesses—while Anthology’s software solutions and services have more than 2,000 institutional clients utilizing their products, most of them in the United States.

“Together, Blackboard and Anthology will lead the next wave of EdTech innovation,” said Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Blackboard. “We believe that combining our companies will enable us to break down data silos across the institution and surface deeper insights about the learner so that we can deliver unmatched personalized experiences across the full learner lifecycle.”

Jim Milton, who now leads Anthology and will become Chairman and CEO of the new company, said delivering better value for its customers will be its mission. A spokesperson told University Business that colleges, universities and K-12 schools that are partnered with either Anthology or Blackboard will not be impacted in any way.

“Upon the completion of this merger, we will have a data-driven product portfolio that seeks to touch every constituent at the institution and will aim to transform the way education uses technology to engage, connect, teach, learn and drive efficiencies,” Milton said. “Anthology and Blackboard are fully aligned around a deep focus on learner success, and I am excited to lead the combined company as we embark on this next phase of growth together.”

Presently, Anthology offers helpful technology solutions for higher ed administrators that cover admissions and enrollment management, institutional effectiveness, student engagement and advancement. It was created as a standalone company from Campus Management, Campus Labs and iModules in July of 2020.

Blackboard helps connect and personalize the learning experience for students through its management system. Educators also can tailor those solutions while administrators are given the kind of metrics and data that can help them make more informed decisions.