Churchill Capital Corp II (“Churchill II”) a special purpose acquisition company, and Software Luxembourg Holding S.A. (“Skillsoft”), a global leader in digital learning and talent management solutions, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge, and Churchill II also announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Global Knowledge Training LLC (“Global Knowledge”), a worldwide leader in IT and professional skills development, from investment funds affiliated with Rhône Capital, a global private equity firm.
Churchill II will merge with Skillsoft in a transaction valued at approximately $1.3 billion and, following the closing of the merger, the combined company will acquire Global Knowledge for approximately $233 million, putting the total cost of the transactions at $1.5 billion.
The combined company will operate as Skillsoft and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”). The combination of Skillsoft and Global Knowledge will create the world’s leading digital learning company with a comprehensive suite of content; customized learning journeys; accessible modalities, and an expanded course portfolio of next-generation, on-demand and virtual content for enterprise learning.
At a time when digital learning has never been more relevant in driving the success of organizations, Global Knowledge adds scale to Skillsoft’s immersive and engaging, learner-centric platform with its extensive IT course portfolio and global consumer reach. Together with Global Knowledge, Skillsoft will be even better positioned to support its customers around the world as they adapt at an unprecedented pace in response to the global pandemic, growing skills gap and evolving workplace needs. The combined company intends to significantly increase its scale through organic growth and acquisitions and extend its leadership position as the industry’s largest and most profitable digital learning company.
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The combined company’s client base will include more than 70% of Fortune 1000 companies and more than 45 million users across content platforms. As a trusted partner in the corporate learning ecosystem, Skillsoft will leverage its award-winning Skillsoft Percipio cloud-based platform to deliver personalized, high-quality learning experiences that enable enterprises to build a future-fit, resilient workforce and to educate, upskill and retain their employees in a rapidly changing economy.
With a seasoned leadership team supported by a harmonized sales and marketing effort, the merger will deliver significant improvements in efficiency and productivity. As the largest digital learning company for enterprises, Skillsoft will be uniquely positioned to capture an underserved and fragmented market through a revitalized go-to-market strategy, new product offerings, and accretive M&A. Following closing of the transactions, management will seek to integrate Skillsoft and Global Knowledge and drive significant expected synergies.
Churchill II intends to work with the Company to offer critical training resources to the more than 30 million people unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on a free or administrative cost basis.
“This transaction is an excellent fit with Churchill II’s mission and focus, as both Skillsoft and Global Knowledge are dedicated to training and reskilling workers for jobs of the future while providing exceptional shareholder returns in a high-growth market with favorable demographic trends,” said Michael S. Klein, Chairman and CEO of Churchill II. “The combination will create the leading digital learning platform in the industry, and the new Skillsoft will be on track to become one of the fastest growing companies in the digital learning space.”
Jeffrey Tarr has agreed to be the Chief Executive Officer of the combined company, with a mission to drive top-line growth, achieve operational excellence and lead consolidation in the digital learning sector. Mr. Tarr has a successful track record of building tech-enabled services companies into trusted industry leaders. He previously served as CEO of DigitalGlobe and President & Chief Operating Officer of IHS. At both companies he drove strong double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth by inspiring team members to better serve customers, improve operating performance, capitalize on new technologies and unlock new markets.
“By bringing together Skillsoft and Global Knowledge, we are creating a new leader in the vast and rapidly growing global digital learning market,” said Mr. Tarr. “With an unrivaled library of content, best-in-class platform, multi-modal capabilities, global footprint, world-class customer base and strong balance sheet, we are well-positioned to drive growth, profitability and shareholder value.”
Ron Hovsepian, Executive Chairman of Skillsoft, said, “We look forward to joining forces with Churchill II and Global Knowledge at a time when companies around the world are accelerating their digital transformations and the digital learning industry is experiencing tremendous growth. As we continue helping our customers build a future-fit, resilient workforce, Global Knowledge will extend our leadership in the growing IT training market.”
Todd Johnstone, CEO of Global Knowledge, said, “We are excited about the increased opportunities that will now open up for us to innovate further in a growing global market and to work with our customers and partners to close critical skills gaps. The combination of Global Knowledge and Skillsoft gives customers the reassurance that they will consistently receive the best possible learning experience and the most relevant content available anytime, anyplace, and anyhow they require.”
Churchill Capital Corp II is a NYSE-listed special purpose acquisition company and is one of the public company vehicles in the Churchill Capital group of companies (“Churchill”). Churchill’s strategy is to identify and complete initial business combinations with unique, leading companies in growing industries that complement the experience and expertise of Churchill’s management team, Board of Directors and Operating Partners. Churchill’s team draws from leaders of Fortune 500 Companies who invest directly in Churchill, execute value enhancement strategies and operate Churchill’s businesses in the public market.
Prosus N.V. (“Prosus”), a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world, is contributing equity capital to Churchill to further Skillsoft’s organic and strategic initiatives.