Blackboard Nabs Higher One Payment Platform for $260 Million
Higher education payments technology provider Higher One Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of education technology company Blackboard for $260 million, or $5.15 per share. The all-cash deal has been approved by Higher One’s board and is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to antitrust clearance and other customary closing conditions. The sale will give Blackboard control of Higher One’s CASHNet platform, which provides billing and payments services to more than 700 campuses and millions of students across the U.S. CASHNet will be integrated into Blackboard’s Transact line of payment solutions, the companies said.
Higher One previously sold its Campus Labs data analytics division to an affiliate of Leeds Equity Partners in a $91 million deal in October 2015. Two months later, the company sold its financial aid refund disbursement platform to one of its bank partners, Customers Bank, for $37 million, following an FDIC fine and restitution order over allegations it violated the Federal Trade Commission Act in its marketing materials. As part of the agreement with the FDIC, Higher One neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing.
The acquisition of Higher One is Blackboard’s latest play in the education payments space. Earlier this month, the company acquired Sequoia Retail Systems Inc., a provider of POS, retail bookstore and inventory management services for educational institutions. In 2015, the company partnered with My Payment Network to integrate the latter company’s SchoolPay payment system into Blackboard’s ParentLink app. In 2013, Blackboard won a Pay Award in the Best Consumer Value category for its BlackboardPay platform, a Discover-branded prepaid account that can be integrated with a student ID card to facilitate disbursement of financial aid balances and student payroll.