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Blackboard acquires Sequoia Retail Systems

Acquisition to provide institutions with greater on- and off-campus retail convenience

Blackboard has acquired point-of-sale manufacturer Sequoia Retail Systems, a provider of comprehensive POS solutions for educational institutions. The move will bring new dining, retail and bookstore POS and inventory/operations management capabilities to Blackboard Transact, the education technology company’s campus ID, transaction, security and financial solutions arm.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Sequoia traces roots back to its founding in 1984 when it began servicing college bookstore operations. Today, the company outfits more than 300 clients with POS, retail bookstore and inventory management solutions. An exclusive focus on the education market has, from the outset, enabled Sequoia to leverage the campus ID to make purchases online, on a mobile device or at a register.

Sequoia has long been a key partner of Blackboard Transact, serving as one of a small set of approved POS solution providers. The acquisition will serve to build on the existing, decade-long partnership.

“We’ve continued to be impressed over the years with Sequoia’s innovation and single dedication to the education community,” says David Marr, SVP for Blackboard Transact. “Given the parallel paths of our long-term partnership, commitment to the campus community and the students we serve, we wanted to put our support behind Sequoia to further accelerate innovation and service levels.”

Between prior collaborative experience and a common vision of serving the higher education space, it’s a move Marr says just makes sense. “People have said for years that it was only natural for our organizations to join together. We’re culturally an elegant fit,” he says. “We both care about students in a sincere way, we take pride in how we serve our clients, and we hold ourselves accountable.”

What does it all mean?

Blackboard Transact will remain committed to providing campuses with a choice of multiple technologies including POS solutions. Blackboard says the acquisition will not impact the company’s commitment to its other valued POS partners, including Micros, NCR and Vivonet.

People may ask what this means for our clients that have other POS systems, but as demonstrated throughout our solution portfolio, we’re absolutely committed to offering client choice,” says Jeff Staples, Vice President of Market Development for Blackboard Transact. “We support a variety of POS options today and will continue to do so. Similarly, we look forward to providing the same outstanding solutions and service to those Sequoia clients who may have a card system from another vendor.”

Sequoia, too, will remain dedicated to its roster of independent college bookstore clients, with Blackboard’s resources expected to empower Sequoia to further reinforce its offerings and services.

“Blackboard and Sequoia were born and raised in the higher education space. I’m excited about the opportunities that joining the Blackboard Transact team presents,” says Jim Zaorski, CEO for Sequoia Retail Systems. “Combining Blackboard’s offerings, financial strength and customer success with Sequoia’s innovations, reputation and 30 years of college and university experience, creates a company with an unparalleled portfolio and capabilities.”

For more on the history of Sequoia Retail Systems, and its growth from campus bookstore solutions to larger campus commerce technology, see CR80News’ previous coverage. For more on Blackboard’s acquisition of Sequoia Retail Systems, visit www.Blackboard.com/Sequoia.

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