K-12 Dealmaking: Blackboard Buys ParentLink; Fifth Acquisition of 2014

By guest blogger Kevin Connors

The Blackboard Inc. footprint grows ever larger.

The Washington-based education technology business recently acquired ParentLink, a communication system designed to increase community engagement.K-12_Dealmaking.gif

The move is part of Blackboard’s strategy to scale up its operations by offering more services to more schools. The company, which has picked up four other companies since January, says its solutions are used by more than half of K-12 districts in the United States. Blackboard’s other 2014 acquisitions include a video conferencing and text messaging software company, a campus card provider, an IT help desk company, and a designer of learning management systems. 

ParentLink, a Utah-based communication company founded more than 20 years ago, currently serves more than 8,000 schools throughout the country. Its addition to Blackboard’s offerings will help “parents get more involved in the learning experience,” said Jay Bhatt, CEO of Blackboard in a recent statement.

ParentLink provides a range of services that can be adapted to fit a district’s particular needs, including emergency messaging, language translation, custom messages, and surveys. Messages can be delivered via the Internet, phone calls, emails, text messages, printed letters, and faxes.

The goal is to make parent outreach as easy as possible, and ultimately, “create a more informed and involved community,” John Graff, CEO and founder of ParentLink, said.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series. 

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