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Blackboard Makes Major Investment to Support Online Learning in China

Acquisition of CerBibo Enhances Company’s Ability to Invest in One of the World’s Fastest-Growing Markets


WASHINGTON—November 9, 2011—Blackboard has made a major investment to support online learning in China, by acquiring full ownership of CerBibo, a company that has brought its online learning solution to hundreds of institutions in China, the company announced today. The move enhances the company’s ability to make deeper investments to support greater use of online learning in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.


Blackboard has seen strong momentum in China with CerBibo, a joint venture launched in 2003 in partnership with CERNET, a public-private organization that provides technology and information services to Chinese education institutions. The venture has brought Blackboard’s online teaching and learning solution to over 270 Chinese higher education and K-12 institutions including Peking University, Renmin University, Sun Yat-Sen University and the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS).


Given the effort’s success and the growing demand for education technology in China, Blackboard wanted to have a more direct investment in the region as institutions explore options for online and distance learning to meet the needs of rapidly expanding enrollments. The company expects the acquisition to simplify the process for bringing new products and investments to Chinese institutions.


With CerBibo operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard, Chinese institutions will gain access to Blackboard’s newest teaching and learning platform, Blackboard Learn 9.1, which has been widely adopted in the United States and other regions. Institutions will also get access to other solutions from Blackboard including Blackboard Collaborate for Web conferencing, Blackboard Mobile to support course access and campus services through smartphones and mobile devices, and Blackboard Connectfor mass notification and alert.


“China is seeing explosive growth in all sectors and education is no exception,” said Michael Chasen, Blackboard’s President and CEO. “We’ve experienced a very strong start working with our partners at CERNET, and this step allows us to accelerate our investments in the region to support the greater use of education technology in a market that is demonstrating greater demand for them.”


In addition to bringing a new mix of technologies to China, Blackboard will also make its existing Blackboard Building Blocks program available to Chinese institutions. Leveraging the open APIs of the Blackboard Learn platform, Blackboard Building Blocks let clients to customize their online learning systems with a range of existing enhancements and the ability to develop their own.


With CerBibo operating as part of Blackboard, clients will benefit from more direct relationships for the support and service of Blackboard products. The effort will also give the company an opportunity to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by educational institutions in China, and to foster closer relationships with leaders in government and business working to support them.


“We’ve had a great partnership with CERNET and Blackboard to date, but joining Blackboard gives us much greater flexibility in the kind of investments we can make as a company to support Chinese institutions,” said David Sun, Chief Operating Officer at Cerbibo. “Operating as part of Blackboard we’ll be able to bring a new mix of the latest and greatest education technologies to institutions in China more quickly than we could have otherwise.”


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About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard Inc. 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.


Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Companys views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.