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Blackboard to buy State College-based Schoolwires

Don George, left, and Wes Hulsizer talk about designs for new software. Schoolwires, a State College based company that provides web solutions for school districts, has been acquired by BlackBoard, March 9, 2015.
Don George, left, and Wes Hulsizer talk about designs for new software. Schoolwires, a State College based company that provides web solutions for school districts, has been acquired by BlackBoard, March 9, 2015. CDT photo

Blackboard, a major tech-ed player, has agreed to buy Schoolwires, a State College-based company.

Blackboard spokeswoman Lauren Dyke said this week via email that the boards of directors of both companies endorsed and approved the acquisition last month, but the deal is not closed.

“We anticipate closing in the near future,” Dyke said. “The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.”

She declined to disclose terms of the deal.

Schoolwires, which provides Web solutions for about 1,700 school districts and educational entities, including the State College Area School District, was founded in 2000 by chairman Edward Marflak. The company serves about 11 million people in the United States and China.

“Blackboard recognizes how Schoolwires’ powerful technologies and passionate team will significantly contribute to our K-12 business strategy and overall portfolio of solutions,” Dyke said. “The Schoolwires platform is expected to play an important role in our K-12 content and community management strategy moving forward.”

Schoolwires spokesman Marc Rubner, when asked for comment, referred to a February blog post by company President and CEO Chris Crawford.

“Our customers win with greater access to integrated solutions for community engagement,” Crawford said in the blog post. “Our employees win with the expanded support from Blackboard and expanded opportunities with the Blackboard organization. And the entire K-12 marketplace wins with the strong Blackboard portfolio of solutions for teaching, learning and engagement.”

Schoolwires employs 115 people in Centre County and 185 worldwide.

“While we do not anticipate any change in the Schoolwires’ State College location, details on the organization structure are still being finalized,” Dyke said. “Upon close of the transaction, we will share more about the go-forward structure of the two companies.”

Blackboard will integrate Schoolwires employees and products into the company once the deal is finalized, she said.

“Over time, we will share more information about how both will fit into our larger K-12 solutions and services strategy,” Dyke said. “I can say, however, that Blackboard was interested in Schoolwires because of all the great work being done by the talented Schoolwires employees and we certainly look forward to their employees continuing to do great work.”

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