Like many of us, eLearning and learning management system (LMS) provider Skillsoft has had quite a year.
Then, in October, came the big announcement: Skillsoft merged with Churchill Capital Corp II – an acquisition company – in a transaction valued at $1.3 billion, acquired information technology (IT) training company Global Knowledge for $233 million.
Creating a One-stop Shop
It was an interesting move at a time when many businesses are tightening budgets due to the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19. By offering in-person IT training and certification programs, an LMS, and additional eLearning content, the new company – called Skillsoft – is branding itself a one-stop digital learning shop. What’s more, the company plans on adding additional acquisitions in the future to “extend its leadership position as the industry’s largest and most profitable digital learning company,” according to the press release.
This merger is the latest (though possibly, in terms of dollars, biggest) in a trend we’ve seen for a few years now: content and tech companies partnering or merging to combine their solutions, creating a more efficient (and often cheaper) buying process for customers. And, by creating one company that offers multiple modalities, Skillsoft is now better able to meet the diverse learning needs of a range of client organizations.
After all, Training Industry research has found that the more modalities in which an organization offers training, the more likely learners are to respond positively to it. Learners tend to learn more effectively when a program meets their learning preferences. The more modalities offered, the more likely a program is to meet learners’ preferences.
Building a Global Digital Footprint
The press release reports that Skillsoft’s “client base will now include more than 70% of Fortune 1000 companies and more than 45 million users across content platforms.” These customers will now have access to Skillsoft’s LMS, Percipio, its content and Global Knowledge’s catalog of technical courses. “With an unrivaled library of content, best-in-class platform, multi-modal capabilities, global footprint, world-class customer base and strong balance sheet, we are well-positioned to drive growth, profitability and shareholder value,” said chief executive officer Jeffrey Tarr in the press release.
Training Industry research has found that many organizations have increased training spend this year, in an attempt to help their employees adapt to the changes brought by COVID-19. In particular, these organizations have focused their spending on providing remote learning to their employees. Additionally, organizations will likely continue to deliver remote learning due to its efficiencies and increasing proof of its effectiveness.
This deal positions both Skillsoft and Global Knowledge to meet buyers at their point of need; Global Knowledge may be able to use Skillsoft’s expertise in digital learning to expand its virtual offerings while Skillsoft can add Global Knowledge’s critical IT training programs to its catalog. (Skillsoft and Global Knowledge were both unavailable for comment.)
No one knows what we’re heading into in 2021. We don’t know when the pandemic will end, when workforces will be back in the office or when it will be safe to conduct large-scale, in-person training again. What we do know is that training will always be vital, that digital training will continue to play a key role in learning strategies, and that companies will always look for ways to make it more efficient and effective. Mergers like Skillsoft’s and Global Knowledge’s are one way training providers are working to meet those needs.