The hectic M&A cycle we have seen throughout 2020 continued this weekend when Vista Equity Partners announced it was acquiring Pluralsight for $3.5 billion.
That comes out to $20.26 per share. The company stock closed on Friday at $18.50 per share on a market cap of over $2.7 billion.
With Pluralsight, Vista gets an online training company that helps educate IT professionals including developers, operations, data and security with a suite of online courses. As the pandemic has taken hold, it has breathed new life into EdTech, but even before that, there was a market for upskilling IT Pros online.
This trend certainly didn’t escape Monti Saroya, co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista. „We have seen firsthand that the demand for skilled software engineers continues to outstrip supply, and we expect this trend to persist as we move into a hybrid online-offline world across all industries and interactions, with business leaders recognizing that technological innovation is critical to business success,“ he said in a statement.
As is typical for acquired companies, Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard sees this as a way to grow the company more quickly. „The global Vista ecosystem of leading enterprise software companies provides significant resources and institutional knowledge that will open doors and help fuel our growth. We’re thrilled that we will be able to leverage Vista’s expertise to further strengthen our market leading position,“ Skonnard said in a statement.
In a 2017 interview with TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr, Skonnard described the company as an enterprise SaaS learning platform. It goes beyond simply offering the courses by giving professionals in a given category such as developer or IT operations the ability to measure their skills and abilities agains other pros in that category. He saw this assessment capability as a big differentiator.
„Our platform is ultimately focused on closing the technology skills gap throughout the world,“ Skonnard told Buhr.
Pluralsight, which was founded in 2004, raised over $190 million before going public in 2018. The company has 1700 employees and over 17,000 customers. The acquisition is subject to standard regular regulatory oversight, but is expected to close in the first half of next year. Once that happens, the company will go private once again.