Providence Equity Partners to acquire Blackboard Inc. for $1.64 billion  This week, Providence Equity Partners said it would buy Blackboard Inc. in an all-cash deal, according to published reports.

The New York Times reports that Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm, will enter into the educational sector with its acquisition of Blackboard, which is one of the most popular makers in the world of course management software for universities. According to officials from the two companies, the deal is worth $1.64 billion.

What's more, Providence Equity Partners will pay $45 per share for Blackboard, which represents a 3.7 percent premium on the stock's Thursday closing price. Providence is also set to take on about $130 million of Blackboard's debt, according to The Times.

"In Providence, we will have a partner who brings a deep understanding of the international education marketplace and shares our vision of providing educators with exceptional technology solutions and services to meet their evolving needs over the long-term," Blackboard chief executive Michael Chasen said in a statement.

Blackboard is the latest piece in Providence's somewhat expansive education portfolio. It also has investments in for-profit college operators and the Education Management Corporation, among others. 
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