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Blackboard acquires Higher One's CASHNet business

Acquisition worth a reported $260 million

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jun 30, 2016  ||   

Higher One Holdings, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the company to an affiliate of Blackboard for $5.15 in cash per share. The all-cash sale price represents a 37.3% premium over the closing price of the Higher One Holdings shares on June 29, 2016 at an equity value of $260 million.

The asset to be purchased by Blackboard is Higher One's CASHNet line of business. It provides secure bill presentment, online and in-person payments and student payment plan services to more than 700 campuses nationwide. CASHNet was acquired by Higher One back in 2009, and was the single remaining part of Higher One following previous transactions for the refund distribution, student banking and other component parts.

“Following up on the successful consummation of the sales of the data analytics business and the refunds disbursements business, the Board is pleased to be able to approve this transaction to deliver cash-certain value into the hands of our shareholders,”says Paul Biddelman, chairman of the Higher One Board of Directors. “After contacting approximately 60 potential bidders and multiple rounds of competitive bidding and negotiations, Higher One is confident the substantial all-cash premium offered by this transaction maximizes shareholder value and is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers and employees.”

A tender offer will be made for all outstanding shares of Higher One common stock at a price of $5.15 per share, and the transaction is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2016.

Blackboard Transact President and COO, David Marr, addressed the acquisition in a blog post on the company's website and highlights the importance of the CASHNet platform in the deal.

CASHNet will be a natural complement to Blackboard and Blackboard Transact in supporting institutions, Marr says. "This acquisition dramatically broadens and strengthens our commitment to the educational community. It recognizes our understanding of the dependency between student financial management, teaching and learning, and student engagement across the entire educational experience."

Marr made sure to distance the CASHNet offering from the maligned Higher One refund management service, saying, "with almost 30 years serving the education community, and predating Higher One, CASHNet should not be confused with Higher One’s former financial aid 'refund' business, which was recently sold."

CR80News will bring you more on the subject as further details are released.

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