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Nashua, NH and Redwood City, CA. SkillSoft Corporation (Nasdaq: SKIL) and SmartForce (Nasdaq: SMTF) announced the closing of the merger of the two companies. The combined company will be a leading provider of e-Learning solutions to the Global 5000. Shareholders of both companies overwhelmingly approved the merger on Friday, September 6, 2002. SmartForce’s American Depositary Shares, which were issued to former SkillSoft stockholders in the merger, will continue to trade on the Nasdaq National Market, and the ticker symbol SKILD will be used for a limited period of time before becoming SKIL. SmartForce intends to do business under the operating name of SkillSoft. The company will pursue legally changing its official name to SkillSoft in the near future.
The new combined SkillSoft is a global leader in corporate e-Learning and brings together SmartForce’s leading portfolio of IT e-Learning content with SkillSoft's extensive suite of business skills e-Learning courseware, as well as its IT and business referenceware libraries. SkillSoft’s content offerings include over 5,000 courseware/simulation titles and over 2,500 digitised books, including content in 15 different languages. With the requisite critical mass and scale to offer global solutions, the Company is positioned to address a comprehensive range of training needs for all functional areas of its customers' organisations. The combined company has one of the most extensive sales and support organisations in the marketplace, capable of offering the implementation expertise and experience required for business success.
This merger represents the best strategic move for both SkillSoft and SmartForce, and it is the strategy that is most likely to deliver increased value to our respective shareholders,” said Greg Priest, SkillSoft’s Chairman. “We are confident that the combined company, SkillSoft, will increase our competitive advantage in products, sales distribution and sales support, while enhancing our relationships with customers and partners.”
“The business combination supports our overall strategy to deliver the most comprehensive and highest quality content-focused learning solutions on the market. The merger positions us to streamline our business and leverage opportunities for cost-efficiency, and at the same time increase the service we can bring to our Global 5000 customers”, commented Chuck Moran, the President and Chief Executive Officer of SkillSoft. “The beauty of this merger is that it brings together two companies, each with strong offerings targeted to different needs in our target corporate customers. By combining these complementary offerings, we can provide customers with a broad range of IT and business courseware and referenceware that meets the diverse learning needs of any organisation. Conversations with our customers over the last weeks indicate they recognise and welcome this value.”
“Our customers in the UK and across Europe have also welcomed the merger” added Kevin Young, Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA. “The demand for high-quality e-Learning continues to grow rapidly throughout Europe and we are looking forward to working with our customers to meet more of their business challenges in the months ahead.”
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