Reverence Capital Nears a Deal to Buy Blackboard Transact

(Bloomberg) -- Reverence Capital Partners, a private equity firm co-founded by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Milton Berlinski, is nearing a deal to buy a payments business for college students from Blackboard Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Reverence is in advanced talks to acquire Blackboard Transact, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. The financial terms of the potential deal aren’t clear, though people familiar with the matter said in February that the business could fetch about $720 million.

Education software provider Blackboard Inc., backed by Providence Equity Partners LLC, is seeking to sell the unit as it grapples with sliding profits and heavy debt.

A representative for Blackboard declined to comment. Representatives for Reverence and Providence didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Blackboard Transact lets students use school identification cards to pay for snacks, laundry, books and tuition, according to its website.

Berlinski, Goldman’s former top adviser to private equity firms, started Reverence in 2013 with Peter Aberg and Alexander Chulack, two other veterans of the New York-based investment bank. Reverence invests in asset managers, payments firms, brokerages and other financial institutions, according to its website.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.