December 7, 2001
- Nashua, NH
SkillSoft Corporation (Nasdaq: SKIL), a leader in critical business skill e-Learning solutions for Global 2000 companies, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Books24x7.com, Inc., based in Norwood, MA, for a fixed number of shares and fixed amount of cash valued at approximately $32.4 million (based on the closing price of SkillSoft common stock on December 6, 2001, at $20.98 per share).
Approximately 80% of the purchase price is being paid in the formof SkillSoft common stock, with the balance being paid in cash. The Company anticipates closing the transaction during the 2002 fiscal fourth quarter ending January 31, 2002. Excluding non-recurring deal expenses and the impact of any amortization of purchased intangibles, the Company expects the acquisition to have a neutral effect on earnings per share in the current quarter and to be accretive to earnings per share in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2003.
Books24x7.com is a leading provider of web-based digital technicaland business reference content, containing 1700+ digitized "best-of-breed" reference books, journals, research reports and documentation. Books24x7's hosted web-based platform enables users to search, browse, read and collaborate with vast professional "Referenceware" libraries assembled through its relationships with more than 65 of the world's top IT and business publishers, such as Amacom, Harvard Business School Press, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft Press, MIT Press, Sybex, and Wiley. Prominent customers that have adopted Books24x7 solutions include: Bank of America, Lockheed-Martin and Hewlett-Packard.
"We believe the acquisition of Books24x7.com content, after integration into SkillSoft's platform and coupled with other recently acquired IT content, will greatly increase our value proposition to our Global 2000 clients. This transaction also complements our IT strategy which we expect will create additional revenue opportunities for SkillSoft in the latter part of fiscal year 2003," commented Chuck Moran, Chairman, President and CEO. "This catalog of material complements our earlier acquisition in IT content, and further extends our product line, creating an attractive offering of IT and business skills that we feel is a competitive advantage. Leveraging our existing direct sales force, we aim to accelerate Books24x7's market penetration and bring added value to our present and prospective customer base. This represents another major step in our goal to expand our product offering and a key milestone in our continuing goal to develop comprehensive, integrated e-learning solutions for our global customers."
SkillSoft also announced that in connection with this acquisition, Jerry Nine, currently Vice President of Sales and Marketing, is being promoted to the position of Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing and General Manager, Books24x7 Group. Mr. Nine will continue to have overall responsibility for the Company's sales and marketing efforts, as well as management responsibility for the newly acquired group. In related moves, the Company also announced that Lee Ritze is being promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Professional Services, and that Doug King is being promoted to Vice President of North American Sales. Both will continue to report to Mr. Nine.