Collaboration Key to SmartForce, Centra Deal

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2002-01-18
The opportunity to add collaboration technology to its e-learning suite drove SmartForce plc.s acquisition of Centra Software Inc. Wednesday, according to SmartForce Chairman and CEO Greg Priest.

Priest, in a letter to customers and prospective customers posted at the SmartForce Web site Thursday, said that the Web meeting and conferencing capabilities of Centras CentraOne suite will allow SmartForce to provide them with one-stop shopping for all their e-learning needs. SmartForce, of Redwood City, Calif., already provides an e-learning platform and management tools along with content and services.

"We firmly believe, and hope that you do too, that the real value in business-driven results from learning will be in the ability for SmartForce to provide all of the required capabilities in a single, integrated, comprehensive solution," said Priest in the letter.

The stock transaction calls for Centra stockholders to receive 0.425 shares of SmartForce for each Centra share they own. SmartForce shareholders were less impressed with the deal than Priest was, sending the stock down $3.45 for the day to $19.30, which dropped the value of the deal from $284 million to $241 million.

The acquisition was approved by the boards of both companies, though the shareholders must still approve it. It is expected to close in the second quarter.

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