Providence Fields Offers for Student Payments Company Blackboard Transact

(Bloomberg) -- Providence Equity Partners LLC has fielded takeover offers for a unit of Blackboard Inc., an education-software company that has been struggling under its debt load, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Providence is working with an adviser as it weighs a sale of Blackboard Transact, a campus-focused payments company that could fetch around $720 million, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. A Providence representative declined to comment, and a representative for Blackboard Inc. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Blackboard Transact enables students to use their campus ID to pay for anything from snacks and laundry to books and tuition, as well as for building access and attendance monitoring, according to its website. Blackboard Inc.’s debt has taken a hit after key customers, including Cornell University, defected to rival education-software provider Canvas. The company hired advisers from Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and Lazard Ltd. to help it manage its debt load, Bloomberg News reported last year.

Blackboard, based in Washington, D.C., provides kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools and higher-education institutions with web-based tools for students and teachers. Its array of debt includes a $135 million first-lien revolver, a $934 million term loan due in 2021 and about $377.6 million in second-lien notes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The junior-lien notes due in 2021 trade at 71.84 cents on the dollar with a yield topping 24.6 percent.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.