"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer
The iterative worlds of SAM, Agile, and ADDIE invite a continual balancing act between "get it done" versus "get it right." -Rachael Sweeten
A space where news and reactions to the proposed Thoma Bravo acquisition can be gathered that would be of interest to the community. Please add additional resources, questions or concerns in the comments.
Some of you might be wondering, will we see dramatic changes in the business? The answer is simple: no. When TB started this process, they were excited about the involved, collaborative, and strong community that is the foundation of Canvas. To them and to us, this acquisition only strengthens opportunities for growth of our community.
While this story of the Instructure sale has taken a back seat to the COVID-19 transition, this sale will have a real impact on EdTech markets moving forward. It has been remarkable how much the Instructure executive team has changed since Goldsmith’s departure. Quite honestly it’s been night-and-day in terms of being open with analysts and with with proactive communication. I doubt the company can fully repair the damage to reputation that’s occurred over the past year – it will need to be a new company with new standards.
"My position has always been neutral-positive on Instructure being acquired by a private equity company in general and neutral on being acquired by Thoma Bravo in particular. Instructure needs some time to move past its current growth plateau. There is a reasonable argument to be made that they could focus on doing that with fewer distractions that could harm their core work for customers if they were under private ownership rather than under the quarter-by-quarter performance pressures of the public stock market. Instructure's acquisition could be good or bad for education, depending on two major factors."
"For those who have not followed corporate acquisitions before: No, this is not typical. I’ve talked to several people in the investment community who have noted that they have never seen a sales process like this before. And there will be much more to the story as the new tender offer comes out."
"First, today we announced that Dan Goldsmith has informed us of his intent to step down as CEO... As an executive team, we realize some of this can seem overwhelming, but we will continue building products and helping this community to create the best educational experiences possible. We also promise to continue to be as transparent as possible."
"In December, we announced that Instructure had reached an agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo, LLC, a private equity investment firm. Our board has always had a financial responsibility to the shareholders of Instructure, but as you all know, key components of the financial health of any organization are ensuring that customers’ needs are being addressed and that innovation is continuing at a healthy pace. Financial health, customer commitment, and innovation are inextricably intertwined and must remain balanced. Thoma Bravo also appreciates this balance and shares our commitment to customer success."
"I realize that the proxy statement is primarily driven by SEC rules, but Instructure is harming its brand by its consistent focus on monetization and shareholder value with no meaningful communication to customers or prospects (I do not consider the letter above meaningful). The academic LMS market deserves better from its market leader."
"Instructure's brand has, until now, been its primary and best product. It is still one of the best in the sector, even if it is getting a little ragged around the edges. Because the brand is still good, the company can still build the relationships it needs to make good acquisitions, evangelize those acquisitions to its customers, and work with its customers on even the most sensitive (and important) product research and development efforts."
"Has Instructure provided customers with a detailed and credible enough strategic roadmap to inspire confidence that they have a more compelling alternative for growth? No, they have not. Has Dan Goldsmith thus far proven, lacking such a roadmap, that his reputation for performance alone is worth betting the company on? No, he has not. No smart PE company would make an attractive counter-offer under these circumstances. There is no sound investment thesis until Instructure is able to regain its footing as a product-led company."
"While debate continues regarding fair market price for the company (Hill, 2019b), there is much speculation within the Community and amongst stakeholders about the role being played in the sale by the student data Instructure has spent years collecting and harvesting to inform the company’s innovations."
"Underlying the valuation question though, is the real concern. Can we discern the plans and future for Canvas (and thereby schools, instructors, students, the higher ed system, pedagogy, etc) from this transaction? "
"Obviously this is big news for the LMS market, and it is worth noting that in the press release Thoma Bravo specifically mentions Canvas but not Bridge, which should give a hint about future plans. And perhaps more importantly, the press release explicitly mentions future growth that will or could include M&A – Instructure buying other companies."
"But whether the sale is good news for colleges and other education customers remains to be seen, Hill added. “It’s now a waiting game to see how their strategy changes,” he said. 'Don’t expect it to be the same.'"
"How private equity will influence Instructure's operations largely remains to be seen. And as part of the deal, the company has 35 days to entertain other offers.'"
"Brian Jaffee, a principal at Thoma Bravo said, 'We’ve followed the impressive Instructure growth story for many years and believe Canvas is a highly unique vertical market SaaS leader with exciting scale and future growth potential.'"
"What does this mean for Instructure’s future? One guess is to expect the Bridge separation with increased focus on the Canvas / academic business to happen quickly. Another guess is to expect Instructure to ramp up their corporate acquisitions starting in 2020."
"Working with Thoma Bravo over the past weeks, it is apparent that they support our strategy for focus on continued investment in Canvas LMS, expanding our impact in education, positioning Bridge to be more successful, and being a well-run business. As a private company, we will be able to better control our future and execute on these strategic imperatives."
"The Instructure management team, led by CEO Dan Goldsmith, will continue to lead the Company in their current roles. Thoma Bravo will support Instructure as it increases investment in education technology innovation and expands internationally."
"We are a leading private equity investment firm building on a 40-year history of providing capital and strategic support to experienced management teams and growing technology companies."
"For academic community, it is worth noting that much of the investor-based pressure is for Instructure to focus more on supporting Canvas, not less. Instructure management has made it a point to say that they are increasing investment in Canvas, but today’s news puts even more emphasis on that need."
"Why is a potential change as mundane as having Instructure’s shares traded in public markets vs. being owned by a larger company newsworthy?"
"The last time a publicly traded learning management system provider was taken private was Blackboard, back in 2011."
Twitter Thread of Resources from Kyle M.L. Jones on Twitter:
Today we entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo and taken private. More info here: https://t.co/HEu3pbOZhA— Instructure (@Instructure) December 4, 2019
Incredibly excited this morning to announce Thoma Bravo's definitive agreement to acquire Instructure (NYSE: INST). We're looking forward to partnering with the @Instructure team and continuing to invest in the K-12 and higher education sectors. https://t.co/HMQZ6p67mb— Orlando Bravo (@OrlandoBravoTB) December 4, 2019
And one more article someone shared with me that might frame the acquisition a little better and show how it could help Instructure be more nimble - https://t.co/gOo8ySG7kI— Kona Jones (@KonaRJones) December 4, 2019
Not surprising that a "hint" of acquisition is closely followed by an actual acquisition. Will be interesting to watch how the support and culture developed by Instructure fare under new ownership. https://t.co/r4FmNqG9AH— Russell Poulin (@RussPoulin) December 4, 2019
With the news that Instructure is being acquired by a private equity company, let's look back to 2011 at the company's first promo ad :| https://t.co/vkVyumqkAr— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) December 4, 2019
I'm sure more news and reactions will be coming in and as I'll update this as they do - feel free add any links or questions in the comments, follow to stay up to date. It will be very interesting to understand what this means for the future of Canvas!